I have always been an advocate of sports as a way of growing individuals in a way that ensures they will become, and be, the very best version of themselves... and I don’t believe that will ever change.
My own experience of sport has been lifelong, enthusiastic, passionate, frustrating, painful, yet always incredibly satisfying, there is always a philosophical reward. I cannot remember a time when... hot, sweaty, exhausted, beaten, or humiliated, I’ve not drawn something from the experience. So... with the voice of experience, let me share some of mine, and maybe you will be encouraged to do something, not searching for experiences, because, as in Kevin Costner’s ‘Field of Dreams’ movie, “they will come...”
Growing up in the deep south of New Zealand, in a port town, surrounded on three and a half sides by the sea, I should have been a swimmer, naturally. But I have always feared the water. Strange isn’t it, I love being on the water, in boats, but even knee deep in the water I have always imagined that there was a massive shark just waiting to take me away, so I rarely went to the beach, never got the other kids’ suntans, but did some other stuff instead.
I used to watch the yachting, intrigued by how different yachts performed at different angles to the wind, and the tactics of racing... I would dream of one day sailing myself. And you wouldn’t believe it, watching the New Zealand Championship for the two-man ‘X Class,’ a crewman never showed for Mervyn Mcmanaway, from Marlborough... he asked everywhere and finally got to me. “Young fella, how would you like to?...” he began. I had a lifejacket on before you could say ‘Jack Robinson,’ and crewed two champs with him, unplaced, but hooked on yachting ever since.
I learned to fish from the wharves, beaches, and rocks, often with a few meters of string, a hook, with a battery or a stone as a sinker (weight), and shellfish meat as bait. One day, I even caught a meter long barracuda from the ‘Old Wharf,’ at Bluff, with a stinky, smelly, thrown away fish head, a blunt hook, and about 12 feet of unplaited rope... That day I was the ‘king’ of the barefoot fishermen boys.
I have fished all over the world since those days, and some of the best experiences have been with Sulieman al Hajri, or Frans Kohler, sometimes the experiences are just so much fun, letting them go after catching them is the ultimate feelgood sensation. But the best thing about fishing is that for the last decade, my wife Lena and myself have fished from the shores of Oman... and enjoyed unique sporting, and bonding experiences. We have enjoyed fishing the coastal beaches of Sharqiyah, especially Al Siyaa, not for big fish, but for the fun of it, for meeting people, sharing tall stories, as fisher folk do, for unforgettable memories.
For us though, the ultimate shore-fishing experiences were on Masirah Island, when we would enjoy the luxury of the Masirah Island Resort at night, and fish every day! The authentic experience of sharing the highs and lows of no bites, or big catches. We will never forget fishing Biyad Beach on a day when, despite clear skies and little wind, the sea was incredibly busy, when Lena hooked and landed three huge Australian Darts within 15 minutes, while standing only 20 metres away, I got nothing! But the sheer unadulterated joy on her face... you can’t buy those experiences.
Oman lends itself to sports for all the family, whether football, yachting, golf, climbing, running, cycling, walking, or whatever, and having covered events like the Cycling Tour of Oman, the UTMB events, and the Muscat Marathon, meeting sports superstars like Paula Radcliffe, Vincenzo Nibali, Eoin Keith, and Nadhira Al Harthy, well... you just can’t buy those experiences, or the lifestyle and health benefits of sports.
Oman is the sportsman’s playground, the field of dreams for feelgood, feel better, and be better, experiences. Get busy... becoming the healthiest, and best version of you.