What's the score? Don't ask me, mate

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as the sport-hating male. Annie Youngman tracks down four of these rare creatures and discovers what on earth they do while Euro 96, Wimbledon and the Test match are on TV
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Greg Kerr, 29, is an investment manager in London.

I enjoy physical activity, throwing a Frisbee around in the park or whatever as long as it doesn't involve getting together with a group of people. I certainly wouldn't watch sport, follow the scores and get hyped up about it - although I'm aware there's some game going on at the moment because I can hear lots of shouting down the street.

In the City, most people are into sport. I never talk about it to colleagues; I have no views on the subject. When the cricket's on, people will talk about it in the lift: it's an easy opener for chit-chat. Everyone will be asking what the score is, or tuning in and listening. Some of them probably regard me as odd. I think they think if you're young and you're not into sport, you ought to be. It's certainly uncool not to like sport.

I suppose I have a disproportionate number of friends who are not into sport. And some of my friends who are into sport are also very intellectual and are into it in a rather trendy way. They study the sociology of the sport, the media spins, why certain stars rise to fame, crowd behaviour.

I'm not proud of the fact I don't like sport, but I have other priorities. I'd rather read different parts of the newspaper, or a magazine or novel. Or this evening, for example, I've been building a bunkbed and clearing nettles in the garden, and I've been to see a school for my daughter, Sarah. I went to Wembley earlier - to Ikea.

During the Olympics I did watch the 100 metres race, the fastest man in the world. Well, it doesn't last long, does it?

Rana Mitter, 26, is a junior lecturer in Modern Chinese Politics, Wolfson College, Oxford

Everyone has the right to enjoy some activity that, in itself, is completely pointless but which gives them pleasure. But I resent the fact that I should be interested in sport because other people are.

I don't insist on dragging them out and making them listen to hours of late Seventies film kitsch, or the life and times of Richard Nixon - which are two of the things I happen to have a trivial interest in. So I don't see why I should have to listen to highlights of the World Cup for the previous 40 years, or Wimbledons I have known, loved, lost and got thrown out of.

Quite a few of my friends who otherwise seem to be normal, reasonable and well-adjusted people do suddenly have this urge to tell you in full and excruciating detail about how Klinnsman scored a particular goal, when it's obvious from the drool dribbling out of your mouth, and the fact that your head hit the table five minutes previously, that you might not be entirely engaged in that particular conversational gambit.

I'm afraid my philistinism where sport is concerned is really quite comprehensive. I once caused grave offence to a friend who invited me to the Wimbledon Ladies' Final - which, I am told, is a tennis match - by falling asleep.

And last weekend I held a party at which the female contingent was proportionally higher than the male. I found out from the rejections that I had pitched the party not only on the opening day of Euro 96 - which, I gather, is a football competition - but also on Derby Day, the French Open Final and the Varsity Polo match. I made four hits in one, and I honestly didn't know about any of them.

I never feel sidelined, though, even in the company of sports-lovers. The best thing, as they say, is to humour people who are insane. A good friend of mine wrote an entire book about football, and I actually read it and enjoyed it very much, so I think the ties of friendship can overcome even hatred of sport.

On the whole, though, I'd rather be doing anything but sport - long walks in the country, short walks in the country, going to the movies, taking a weekend trip to Paris, taking a weekend trip to Accrington.

As for the Olympics, I think I might go and rent some three-hour Hungarian neo-Expressionist movies, pop one in the video, and have a very fun afternoon. No Euro 96, no Wimbledon, no Olympics. And no boredom, either.

Barry Lewis, 43, is publican of the Royal George, in Appledore, North Devon.

Sport. It's boring. I just find it silly. I don't know what people see in it all. I'd prefer a good film.

There's always people in the pub talking about sport, but I don't listen to it. I can hear it all the time, who scored what. But I don't get involved. It's always the bloody football or the boxing. Two men beating the shit out of each other for pounds 2m, it's disgusting. As a diplomat, though, I wouldn't comment. I know I'd be shot to pieces.

I get a few rugby players in here as well, and I'll laugh and joke with them, as long as they don't start talking about what they did on the field that day. And yet I come from a family of rugby players. My uncle was a great rugby player, my father was a rugby player, and always the television was on with rugby or football. It used to send me dotty. My father used to say that because I was born in Wales and educated in England, I could play rugby for England or Wales. Well, I'm really built for rugby, aren't I?

It was worse at college. When people started talking about the football game they'd just seen I used to get up and go. I just couldn't join in the conversation. I was never really excluded, but there are better things to talk about, you know - life, the price of wine, but not "Oh, wasn't that a wonderful goal that Gazza?".

I had a load of people in the pub for the Spain-England game, and I left them to it. I went upstairs and read a good book.

I've actually got a football promotion in the pub with this World Cup thing [sic], and I've brought a television down. I've got a massive board where you fill your name into a square and what time you think the last goal is going to be scored in whichever game. And you win a T-shirt if your name comes up. It should go on till the end of the competition, but I've scrapped it. I've had enough, keeping up on the goals and everything. I've got another eight T-shirts to go, but I'll give them to the staff. To me, a television in a bar kills conversation. People watch it for the sake of it.

I'll watch a little bit of the tennis, but that bores me as well, seeing the ball going across the net. I'll probably watch the first half hour, and that'll be it for the whole of Wimbledon. People who love sport just don't understand it, but then again I don't understand them."

David Davis, 54 is a mini-cab driver, at Croydon Carriage Cars, Croydon.

I never watch any sport on TV. The other day the lads here were talking about football and I wasn't sure who Gazza was - I thought he might be German - so I had to go home and ask my wife.

My wife, she's into football, she supports Arsenal. And I've got two girls, they're sports mad as well. The younger one - she's 12 - plays hockey and rugby. She's broken her ankle twice. I think she's mad, but I let her play. It's her choice isn't it? She loves it. My other daughter swims. The two of them have made up a team with 10 of their friends, and they go to the park and play rounders.

I sometimes join them when they go swimming, or I go on my own. I used to swim a bit when I was younger. It was the only sport I ever did, even at school. My ex-wife still swims in a team. And my boy from my first marriage - he's 30 now - is football mad. He played for Palace for five years.

When I was young, though, I spent all my time working for my dad's fruit business. It was money or sport. I worked there till 10 years ago.

My boy didn't think like that. He never worked for me. He was mad on football so I just let him do what he wanted. I just said to him if you can make a grand playing football or a grand working, then you might as well play football. He played for five years but he's in the carpet business now.

The lads at work talk about sport all the time. It's either the horse racing, the dogs, the football - but I'm not interested. They can't understand why not, but that's just the way it is. If I've got some time, I'd prefer to do my garden. When everyone's watching sport at home, I don't mind, I just do what I want to do."

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