Am I The Only One?10 October 2010
When I say I don’t like sport, I really mean it. As soon as the sports news comes on at the end of the “proper” news, I hit the Mute button – unless David has already beaten me to it. But at times like these, with the Commonwealth Games taking place, or when there’s an Olympics or the Wimbledon Grand Final, the sports news is moved up the slots and becomes regular news. David and I then fight to see who can get to the remote control first.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this – well, I know I’m not or did I marry the only other person in the world who feels as I do? I just don’t “get” it.
And, no, I’m not the fat kid who couldn’t do sport at school. In fact, unfortunately for me, I was sometimes quite good at it. I won the Junior Cross Country Championship at school once, was moritified when I was (on only one occasion) picked to play for the school hockey team – which meant I had to give up a Saturday morning – and I came first in an inter-schools swimming competition.
But I don’t appear to have the sports gene. And I just don’t get why there is so much national pride in it.
I was in Australia in 1976 when the Olympic Games were taking place in Montreal. There was a great controversy raging about what National Anthem would be sung when an Australian was on the podium – they were starting to drop the British ‘God Save the Queen’, and were wavering between Advance Australia Fair and Waltzing Matilda. Rather hilariously I thought after all the debate, the whole discussion was irrelevant because Australia didn’t win one Gold medal. That would be difficult for people to comprehend here today because they now win medals totally disproportionate to the size of the population. As I write, they’re leading the medal table in Delhi, ahead of England and India.
They invested money in sport. Loads of it. They opened sporting academies (which I believe are free, unlike universities). And it paid off – they won medals. Now the British are doing the same, I think, and are winning more than their usual number of medals in Delhi.
I know that whatever a Government chooses to spend money on, there will always be those who protest that it should go somewhere else. The pot just isn’t big enough to cover what everyone wants. But Britain is in recession, money isn’t paving the streets of London and what are they doing? Pouring money into sports training and facilities, as if the staging of the Olympics isn’t already emptying the coffers. .
I’d be interested to hear what’s happening in the USA which has one of the worst economies in the world at the moment – have they drastically cut their sports budget or are they still determined to return from London with loads of Gold medals (Note to President Obama : They aren’t REAL gold).
Why? So people can feel pride in their nation and stick two fingers up to the rest of the world? I really don’t care whether your sprinters can run faster than our sprinters. Why should I?