Sunday 5th August 2012
PETE Reed is a rower from nearby Nailsworth. I know his Mum. Jessica Ennis is a West Riding lass. Cyclist Laura Trott was born with a collapsed lung. I’ve had one of those.
All three won gold yesterday. Yorkshire is a nominal 10th in the medal table. Am I alone when making such silly connections?
Not only is it refreshing when sporting achievements are headline news – a welcome respite from reports of corporate greed, environmental rape, and the carnage in Syria or Wisconsin – but there is also a distinct flavour to the panorama of events now being staged in London.
The Games are not charged with the chauvinism that attends many other competitive arenas, notably football, politics, and television talent shows. Judges and officials remain mostly anonymous, with split-second decisions entrusted to technology. Endeavour endears, with mutual appreciation and acceptance crossing barriers in ways that smug rulers could never comprehend, let alone deliver.
There is something extraordinary about ordinary people standing in the rain to applaud other ordinary people doing something quite extraordinary.
Moreover, engagement can be quietly personal: you don’t have to light barbecues, drape flags from windows, or watch every one of the sports on offer. It’s like being at a festival without the palaver of queuing for portaloos or stoned eejits falling over your guy ropes.
I didn’t expect to be, but I am hooked.
Yes, I’m unsettled by the pomposity of Coe & co, sympathise with Londoners facing cruel cuts in public services, and certainly don’t expect every parent in the land suddenly to start giving their children healthier food… but, while the likes of Somali-born Mo Farah are uppermost in the nation’s mind, I am content to join with those admiring his remarkable athletic ability.
Besides, I’m at home on my own this coming week.
If I have to choose between sorting out the attic and following the progress of the Brazilian women’s volleyball team, then there can be only one winner.