Let’s Talk Summer
The sizzling connection: This week, our stories revolve around summer, and we delve into the multiple reasons why the season is strongly associated with sports
By Alison Root
As the days grow longer, temperatures rise, and school breaks beckon, the arrival of summer ignites a collective enthusiasm for sports and outdoor activities. From the world’s most-watched global events, like Wimbledon, The Ashes and the Women’s World Cup to local leagues and tournaments, summer and sports have become intrinsically linked in our collective consciousness. But why do we associate summer with sport?
Throughout history, various cultural and historical factors have shaped the association between summer and sport. Ancient civilisations celebrated the summer solstice with athletic competitions, such as the Greek Olympics, which continue to inspire modern sporting events. Moreover, summer sports, such as baseball in the United States or cricket in England, have deep-rooted traditions and cultural significance, further cementing the link between the season and specific sports.
For me personally, summer means tennis. I always feel sad when the last ball is struck in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon because that means it’s all over for another year, having been absorbed by the action for two weeks. As a tennis fan I’m probably biased, but we’re happy to share Radka Leitmeritz’s story and her amazing photographs of the some of the world’s leading players.
But let’s not forget some of the most iconic and highly anticipated sporting events worldwide that foster a sense of inspiration and unites fans worldwide in the spirit of sport like the Olympics and the Tour de France.
Who can forget Super Saturday at the 2012 London Olympics? It will forever remain in my memory as a watershed moment in British sporting history. It was a day when the nation’s athletes reigned supreme, showcasing their unwavering determination, passion, and resilience. The memories of Jessica Ennis-Hill (triathlon), Sir Chris Hoy (cycling), and Greg Rutherford (long jump) triumphantly standing atop the podium will forever serve as a testament to the power of sport to unite, inspire, and captivate. “Super Saturday” was a celebration of sporting excellence, etching its place in the hearts of sports fans as a defining moment of sheer sporting brilliance for Great Britain.
Summer is also synonymous with holidays and travel, providing an opportunity for people to explore new destinations and engage in recreational activities. Beaches, mountains, and national parks become popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and sport. It’s probably the only time I venture into the ocean, but it goes without saying that water sports like swimming, surfing, and kayaking gain popularity during the summer and draws people like myself to coastal regions worldwide.
This week we highlight three destinations – Quinta do Lago in Portugal, a resort tailormade for everyone; the absolutely stunning Apes Hill in Barbados and The Manor House in the Cotswolds, a beautiful countryside retreat like no other. All three are renowned for first-class golf, but each venue offers so much more, where you can combine indulgence and sport for a perfect holiday.
Surfing is another key summer sport and we highlight Gabriella Angotti-Jones, who grew up in a biracial family and found herself coming up against the traditional stereotype of surfers as white and middle class. Now, as a woman who surfs and follows a successful career as a documentary journalist, she features her tribe in her zine I Just Wanna Surf.
Beyond organised sports, summer encourages us to embrace a more active lifestyle. The season inspires use to get outdoors, explore nature, and engage in recreational activities that promote physical well-being. Whether it’s hiking, cycling, jogging, or swimming, the warmer months provide the perfect canvas for people to shed their sedentary habits and adopt healthier, more active routines. Summer acts as a catalyst for rejuvenation, fostering a sense of vitality and encouraging people to discover new activities to enjoy in the great outdoors.
Cat Meffan is a yoga teacher and retreat organiser and an advocate of summer. “Although I’m not born in the summer, I consider myself a “sunshine baby.” If I go abroad, I choose destinations that offer a summer-like experience. The weather impacts my work and brings me clarity, confidence, and joy in my teaching.” During our conversation about Cat’s yoga retreats, she explains why yoga lends itself so well to summer months.
Then there are summer sports like polo, which has the perception of being exclusive, but that is something that Hannah Henderson, founder of the Ladies Polo Foundation, is trying very hard to change. “In polo, there are entry level opportunities, and we do a lot with the pony club to support young children who want to get into the sport. While there are costs involved, the pony club tries to subsidise expenses for those who need assistance. At the end of the day, hard work and dedication can help you overcome any financial barriers and succeed in the sport,” says Hannah in our interview
Ultimately, the summer season brings people together, kindling a shared passion for sports, while invigorating their spirits and rejuvenating their sense of wellbeing. I can’t wait for this year’s summer of sport, as well as a dip in the ocean!