Twenty years ago I was Press Officer for National Relate, the relationship charity. We had a hot summer that year and sport was in the news in a big way – football, tennis and other sports events all over the UK. I sent out a press release discussing the adverse effect of hot weather, watching sport and drinking to excess on family relationships. Relate knew that referrals to its counselling service climbed around this time, and I was soon on national TV and radio talking about the devestating effect of rows over sport, made worse by booze and heat.
This year has been very similar, with the football World Cup (sorry England!), Wimbledon and soaring temperatures. The problems are often related to partners disagreeing over how much sport should be watched; the amount of beer consumed or feeling exhausted by trying to work through searing heat and perhaps commuting on a boiling and packed train or bus. We’re simply not used to managing this combination in this country, although other hot countries manage better with air-conditioning and siestas.
So how can you minimise the arguments caused by the Summer of Sport? Here’s a few ideas:
- Keep as cool as you can. Take cool showers, stay hydrated and avoid rushing around if you can.
- Discuss what you’re going to watch as a couple, or special matches you can’t bear to miss, ahead of time. Turn off the TV or iPad occasionally for a break.
- Watch your alcohol intake. Drink, tensions over the outcome of sport and feeling overheated, can cause ordinary niggles to escalate to full blown rows. Making up is much harder than preventing arguments in the first place.
- Try to enjoy the heat by having family days together. Shorter trips are better than long exhausting days trying to keep children out of too much sun.
- If you can’t tear yourself away from a particular sporting event, and your partner is not interested, do some trading. Agree a meal out or walk with the dog when it’s over.
It is possible to enjoy our unusually hot summer and the sport with a little preparation.