…an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind.
If you were to ask someone three years ago if there was anything I was obsessed with, they would probably have said, ‘’Football’’. If you were to ask them today they would probably say, ‘’Football and Formula 1’’. If you were to ask me the same question, I would say: Football, Formula 1, Session IPA’s and, if she’s in earshot, my Girlfriend…
And it’s this site and social channels that have become the manifestation of that relatively new found obsession for Formula 1. If you know me personally you’ll know that I have a love for sport that is almost insatiable but you may not have included F1 in that list. From age 10 I have played organised sports from Football, Golf, Cricket and Ice Hockey to those I just enjoy socially, Tennis, Dart and Rugby. I have always and still do revolve my social life around Walsall FC home games (much to the annoyance of many in my life) and my weekends and evenings are often committed to playing or watching sport live or on the TV. It’s something that is in my blood and I am drawn to inescapably.
Formula One fits into this story in a rather convoluted way but I thought I’d have a go at explaining it as some of you (and myself) have been questioning why I am putting out Formula One Content in a year that there isn’t even a season happening…
Growing up I didn’t have a huge amount of interest in Motorsport. Despite the fact my Dad worked in the automotive trade (Rover, Audi, Ford, Volvo, Volkswagen) and that my Mom had been a big Formula One fan previously. She had been a big enough Damon Hill fan-girl to call up the Williams Factory and demand to speak to Frank Williams for an explanation as to why Damon Hill’s 96 contract had not been renewed and for some period of time there was a life size cutout of Damon Hill in the house…
I have some memories of F1 Sundays where my parents would come in from gardening to watch the first few laps of a race and then pop back in an hour or so to check in on lead changes until the end of the race and seem to remember the distinct voice of Murray Walker being a relatively consistent in my early years, but there is a chance I am misremembering. But outside of that F1 was just something that was there in the background and despite other family members enjoying the sport too there was never too much of a spectacle around racing. And as I entered my teenage years Sundays became all about football, Cricket and Ice Hockey.
When Jenson and Lewis then joined up at McLaren in 2010 I was drawn back into the sport. A couple of people in my friendship group had started following F1 and the draw of the British driver duo at the British team was enough to peak my interest but again I would not say I had a passion for the sport at this point. In Fact come the end of the 2011 season I was on my way to University and any interest I had started to develop began to wane and that’s the way it stayed until a few years ago when I met my girlfriend.
She is not as sport obsessed as myself. I have managed to convince her that the darts and a T20 Cricket are worth of her attention and as a Welshwomen she of course enjoys Rugby – but she is an F1 and in particular Sebastian Vettel fan. So I decided to try and get back into the sport to maximise my sport watching potential… I think she regrets that I did now.
For some reason I was really drawn back into the sport: maybe the availability to stay more connected than ever to the sport, teams and drivers through the mass availability of social media, the fact that Katey and some of my close friends were so passionate about the sport or maybe it was just another excuse to drink beer whilst watching sport… whatever it was, I suddenly found myself down YouTube rabbit holes reading about the various impacts of ground effect, vortices, tyre compounds and so on. The technical side of the sport I had never been interested in but suddenly all of these invisible elements of the sport that surround the 20 cars going round in circles on a Sunday made the race seem like so much more.
The job that liberty media have done so far has also ensured that my attention is retained on the sport. As mentioned there have been times I have been more or less interested in the sport but have never stayed around … this time feels different.
The parallel to this story is that I have always enjoyed writing. For a few years now I have written about Walsall FC on oliswift.com and for even longer I have dreamed of having a broader base to write about everything I love. For a million reasons I have always found excuses not to do this: confidence to actually do it, expectation of ridicule, generally finding the time etc. Then when wordpress sent me the next billing year for oliswift.com I hadn’t even updated the site for months.
I decided instead of letting the site die, I would not only keep it but start thinking about actually putting some time into writing about the sports I love. With no Walsall content beng written for a while I came up (with the help of my friend Jack) the concept of ‘’The General Sportsman’’ (TGS) a place I could write about my general love of sport, and as a challenge to myself to try and put at least three bits of content out a week. Staying across all the sports I love quite quickly became impossible and so I decided to commit to F1 as it’s the sport outside of football (which I already write about through Walsall Fc) I have the most passion for. So to give it a proper stab there’s no a TGSF1 URL which redirects to thegeneralsportsman.com , a TGSF1 Twitter account, a TGSF1 Facebook page and even a TGSF1 Youtube Channel (see below).
So obviously COVID 19 has stopped all the sports, so frustratingly I have less live reaction I can provide so at the moment I am working on articles and videos that are still relevant. I am not sure what the goal is- I have always thought about Sports journalism as a career but so do thousands of other writers, vloggers and bloggers, but for me it’s about not letting my enjoyment of content creation and sport go by the wayside. If you want to support my efforts or enjoy the content, please follow me on all the socials!