Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Just not cricket.

HOORAY! We've won a gold medal!

Cue the jubilation, listen to a verse of the national anthem, and then give it five minutes before someone starts complaining that we haven't won more.

The Olympic Games have been going less than a week and already people have been muttering about a lack of world-crushing sports prowess from a nation which spends most of its time sitting down.

A gymnast fell off the bar, a judologist was disqualified, some swimmers did worse than others and a cyclist was cruelly beaten by foreigners who were unexpectedly competitive.

Then someone lost her specs and a princess' horse kicked a bar and before you know it people are walking around saying £24billion is a lot to spend on mucking around with the TV schedules.

Well, yes it is. It would be a lot to spend on 50 new hospitals and an aircraft carrier, but someone decided to spend it and it's done now. Did anyone seriously expect when they wrote the cheques that as a result we'd win everything?

No. China was always going to win most, because totalitarian states put a lot of effort into making everyone forget the oppression by creating sports prodigies. They don't have rules saying they can't take physically suitable children and push them through bizarre training regimes for 15 years.

And after them would chase the Americans, the Russians, the Germans, while little old Britain was always going to do slightly-better-than-Eurovision-but-not-as-good-as-the-war.

That's fine. It's acceptable. It's what we would expect, if we thought about it calmly. We still have James Bond and a parachuting Queen.

As things stand we're not even at the halfway point yet and it's a little early to start complaining. We're taking the fortnight off from synchronised whingeing, remember?

Think about the things that have gone well. So far, no terror attacks, no stampedes, no doping. The Tubes and buses are largely doing what they should, the Prime Minister is probably going to get on with some work seeing as every time he turns up a Brit athlete flunks, and at time of writing we've been in the top three in the world for seven different things and top one in two of them.

Lots of other things we're good at have yet to start or reach the finals, and we all know that if they allowed cricket as an Olympic sport we'd thrash them. But at the same time we're the host, so that would just not be cricket.

(Translation of above sentence for foreigners can be found here.)

Do we invite people round for Christmas and then smash them at Monopoly? Do we meet pals to play a game of pool only if we can win and then do a lap of the pub? Do we insist on laurel wreaths and an interview with Sharron Davies after bombing in the community pool?

No, we do not. The British way is to let tailgating cyclists go in front with a cheery wave, to give polite rounds of applause and cheer the plucky underdog, to be the only people on the planet pointing out to the Americans that amazing Chinese swimmer has been declared clean by the doping authorities and unless that changes she ought to be given a hearty slap on the back just like Michael Phelps was.

Whatever happens in the rest of the Olympics and however many medals we gain of whatever colour, they will not be the best or worst bit about it. They're nice, but not worth getting aerated about.

That honour will be fought out between, variously: the empty seats, the unending waffle of the BBC, the predicted economic boom which has turned into a slump as spectators are steered away from shops, how warnings of traffic chaos made four million people leave the country, the fact Boris' station announcements were finally turned off after remaining Londoners swore at him twice a day, and that the army facing severe cutbacks saved our arses twice by providing security and half of our first gold medal.

But that is yet to come. For now, we must do just as we would at the cricket.

Which is to clap the other side when they do well, hurrah our side when they do better, and not expect too much.

China is wrong about lots of things, and one of them is that it's not the winning that matters.

 No-one ever got anywhere by getting too excited.


Anonymous said...

Our athletes are a complete failure. We should execute every manjack of them. The bally lot of 'em, y'hear. The bally lot. No ifs. No buts.

Neil said...

No candy or nuts?

Anonymous said...

See me after class

Jud said...

Sometimes I think I'm the only one who is really enjoying these 'Lympics, and am not arsed about medals - I'm just really enjoying SUPPORTING all our atheletes who have put so much time and effort into being the 'best they can be' (cue music)

pirate said...

They aren't our athletes, they are their own. Behind each one is a massive ego, which will do just about anything to win. The Badminton player disqualification show this. it's like capitalism, they don't like the market they like making lots of money and will rig it given a chance, like LIBOR, which is the equivalent of Premiership diving. You need a Monopolies commission for sports.It Leads to those who are crap at sports being used to feed the egomaniacs who want to win.

Henry said...

Baron Pierre de Coubertin said "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well." And there's a bloody big sign up somewhere in that there park to remind us. But you seem to be about the only person who's read it.

Julian Hall said...

Couldn't agree more! Great blog! :)

Julian Hall said...

If they were competing for themselves;
a) They'd pick a more lucrative profession
b) They wouldn't sacrifice so much on the altar of sport
c) They wouldn't be so emotional at their result - win or lose

As for the badminton, don't tar all athletes with the same brush.

Dave Elliott said...

I don't even care about our athletes winning anything, i'm enjoying watching world class athletes compete on the telly!

Can we have Transworld Sports back please so I can watch random sports more often!

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted team GB have got ONE gold, anything else now will be a bonus.

pirate said...

Don't kid yourself they don't make money. Redgrave has never done a days real work in his life. They pick the area they can win most in. What may start of as a positive game becomes a pathological obsession.
They don't sacrifice as much as a workaholic who lives in the office.
Yes they get emotional because they have just avoided feeling like shit if they lost.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Well, I guess if you think sitting in a office all day reading Facebook and, well, sites like this, is real work, then perhaps you're the one with the problem?

pirate said...

Actually I don't do that. I have in the past been things like a Farm Labourer, Software engineer and Waiter and I surveyed the height of man hole covers in Warwickshire. I got paid to do it and in most cases was intensely bored, I got very little thanks. I did get tons of lottery cash, collected from some of the poorest people in the land spent on me. When the were amateurs the desired some respect now they deserve as much respect as a photocopier sales man.

Sophie said...

Finally someone who feels the way I do :-)

Buddha B'der said...

I take it you've never wanted to win at anything. You're quite happy to live a life attempting nothing. Why would you want to even try? You're going to die one day and whatever you haven't done won't matter anyway and won't mean anything to anybody. On your headstone it may as well say, "Here lies someone who was given the gift of a life, never tried and achieved absolutely nothing".

David said...

Pirate, what a fulfilling life you must lead.

pirate said...

You are an athlete aren't you. A PE teacher once asked me why I would run down corridors but never put any effort in during lessons. I explained that in corridors the walls are close it gives you a sensation of speed, I liked that.
You assume winning and achievement are the same things, I do things because I enjoy them.
When I played badminton I played as best I could winning didn't come into it. Happiness is what matters and if being better than someone at something gives you pleasure you are d very sad person.
Competitiveness is the mark of the shallow. You grave will should have "Won lots and achieved nothing", the only worthwhile opponent is nature, things constructed by man are meaningless riddles.

pirate said...

BTW Buddha you more of an Ozymandias than Buddha.

Anonymous said...

Hear hear! *cheers emotionally*. We should be proud of the wonderful way we are hosting the Olympics and of the amazing commitment of all our athletes (by the way, anyone else dreading the start of the football season and the return of whinging, spitting, overpaid footballers??!) and any medals they win are a bonus. What a super example they set to everyone in the country.

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