The Cricket World Cup
Following sporting events is a great way of connecting with the world.
I felt really inspired watching the London Olympics in 2012 and ever since then I've tried to follow as many of the big sporting events as possible, especially where we're the host nation or are expected to do well.
But, like a lot of people, I perceived cricket to be quite dull. The Cricket World Cup has proved how wrong I was!
It's become an enjoyable summer routine to watch the previous day's highlights while I'm eating my breakfast and I don't think I've ever witnessed as much drama in any sport as the final with New Zealand.
I could quite easily have zoned the whole event out because it's not a sport that I normally follow but I'm so glad that I didn't because I've found so many benefits from being interested and inquisitive towards it.
For starters, England had never previously won it and hadn't reached a final for 27 years, so there was a huge sense of occasion and being part of history in the making. I really enjoyed talking to long-term cricket fans (social) and hearing their excitement about new people sharing in their passion.
Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from another person's misfortune, whereas Mudita is pleasure that comes from another person's wellbeing. And seeing the delight on the faces of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and the rest of the England team because of the enormity of what they'd achieved is hugely life-affirming and has inspired me to want to be more active.
I've driven past Old Trafford cricket ground many times in the past and I had thought that I'd like to go there one day but now I feel like I'd like to make those plans more concrete and that I'd like to visit other cricket grounds too, most notably Lord's.
Any kind of competition like this is great at celebrating different cultures and it provides life lessons about dealing with pressure, mistakes, setbacks and disappointments. When Archer bowled a wide on his first ball of the Super Over he could have lost his nerve entirely but he regained his composure and did what he had to do. And I was enormously impressed with how sporting New Zealand were after losing their second successive World Cup Final.
Sport can help you to challenge self-limiting beliefs and question what you believe to be possible. During the Olympics I wrote a blog for the Mind website saying that the way that the athletes pushed themselves to their limits had inspired me to confront my Agoraphobia and I wanted to go further than I felt comfortable with.
A lesser-known benefit is that watching other people play sport can help you to burn calories! If the average football match can burn up to 740 calories, imagine how many we got through with a full day of nail-biting cricket.
After following the tournament for 7 weeks I felt a great sense of achievement myself when I ticked the box off on my board. And now I'm excited about the Ashes, the 2023 World Cup in India and how the players get on at County level, so it's opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me.
Like a lot of people, I perceived cricket to be quite dull. The Cricket World Cup has proved how wrong I was!