Dom Joly: Wanted, urgently... first-class degree from the university of sporting life

Weird World of Sport: 'I might specialise in the relationship between sportsmen and the sedentary spectator'
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The Independent Online

Once again the A level results have been flooding in and everybody in the country has got three A stars. Everybody that is, save for a tiny few who only receive two A stars and a solitary, humbling A (no star).

What are these losers to do? It's obvious – find an obscure subject to "study" and try to persuade your college of choice that it's what you alawys wanted to do.

A phone rings.

"Hello, college dean of admissions speaking."

"Yes, hello... I've just got my results and I would like to come to your college please."

"What's your name?"

"My name is Humphrey."

"Well now, Humphrey – you didn't get a star on your third A grade so there's no way that you can come here to study Classics as you requested. I'm so sorry."

"Yes... I understand that... the thing is, I don't want to study Classics any more."

"Oh? What is it that you do want to read then?"

"I want to read sport."

"SPORT?"

"Yes... I'm really interested in reading sport."

"Oh, are you now?"

"Yes... I was a little drunk when I filled out my form. It's actually sport I've always been really interested in – Classics is rubbish."

"Right... what area of sport are you interested in studying?"

"Oh... every area... football... cricket... croquet... the lot really."

"The lot... you do understand that sports studies are not some silly made-up degree... it's a serious field of education."

"Oh yes... definitely... that's why I'm so passionate about it."

"What particular angle do you think you might specialise in?"

"Uuuhhhmmm... what particular angle might I specialise in?"

"Stop repeating what I say and answer the question."

"Sure... the particular angle I might specialise in might be, uuuhhhmmm, the relationship between sportsmen and, uuuhhhmmm, the sedentary spectator."

"You mean people watching sport on the television?"

"Yes... I think that the detached nature of the relationship mixed with the contrasting lethargy of the spectator as opposed to the effort made by the actual sportsmen and women is worth exploring."

"Exploring?"

"Yes... exploring."

"And just how would you propose to do such exploring?"

"I would... research... and study... and uuuhhhmmm... "

"Watch a lot of television?"

"Well, there would be an element of that, yes."

"Do you think I'm stupid, Humphrey?"

"What? No, sir, not at all."

"I think you do think I'm stupid Humphrey... I think you failed your A levels and so thought that you could slip into further education by doing what you consider to be an easy course. You must think I'm an idiot, Humphrey. Do I sound like an idiot to you?"

"No, sir, not at all. You sound very clever, sir..."

"Stop brown-nosing. Do you think I don't know what you're up to?"

"I can understand why this sounds bad, sir, I really can, but I am genuinely interested in studying sport."

"What do you imagine people do when they study sport here, Humphrey?"

"Well, you study sport psychology and... other stuff."

"Other stuff... presumably that will be the subject of your dissertation – The Other Stuff by Humphrey. Sounds like we've got a veritable Rhodes Scholar on our hands."

"I know this sounds bad, sir, but it's just I'm quite heavily sedated. I took quite a few anti-depressants yesterday after getting my results."

"Why would you take anti- depressants if you were always intending to study sport sciences. Surely you would have no reason to be depressed?"

"Uuuhhhmmm... yes... I took the anti-depressants after getting my results but not because of them, it was just coincidental. My dog died and I was very upset."

"Your dog died?"

"Yes..."

"What was your dog's name?"

"Uuuhhhmmm... John..."

"John. Your dead dog was called John?"

"Yes, sir, John... that was my dead dog's name."

"And you're so depressed by John's departure from this earth that you stuffed yourself full of anti- depressants and are now attempting to enter this educational establishment to study sport in a hazy stupor?"

"Yes."

"If you were in my place, Humphrey, would you let me come and study here?"

"Probably not, sir, no."

"I admire your honesty, Humphrey."

"Thank you, sir."

"If I don't let you in, what are your options?"

"I'll either go to Peru for a year with Bob or stack shelves in Asda."

"What is Bob like?"

"Bob's a twat."

"Is he? Well, it looks like I'd better let you in then... "

"WHAT? Are you serious? Oh, thank you so much, sir."

"That's OK, Humphrey, do you honestly think that we have a long queue of people waiting to study sport? Of course we don't, it's a ridiculous subject and you're welcome to it."

"Oh, thank you, sir, I won't let you down."

"Oh yes you will. You're a loser, Humphrey – no A star, no future, don't forget that"

"I won't, sir."

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