July 12, 2012
The 2012 London Olympics are almost upon us. I heard the comedian David Baddiel say on TV that sport is probably the only human endeavour at which you can say someone is truly the greatest. That is true in respect of a person’s technical ability but the hype that surrounds it can be out of all proportion.
If British competitors fail to get more than five gold medals then many might say for the United Kingdom it has been a failure and there will be a clamour for our sporting authorities to get back to “grass roots” and search for future sporting champions. The recent failure of Andy Murray to overcome tennis champion Roger Federer at Wimbledon is a classic example. Prospects for a great victory ran high and the fact that he broke down after failing to best arguably the best tennis player of all time is sad. The pressure to succeed was immense.
There has to be a sense of proportion. The Australian cricketer and World War II fighter pilot Keith Miller summed it up for all sports when he said, “Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, playing cricket is not”. The sheer enjoyment of competing for your country, with and against other people must be the over riding purpose. The result should not matter too much. It is truly satisfying to identify that a team or competitor is the best but it is not paramount.
June 14, 2012
2012 may go down in British national history as the year of fun and games. It is now June and the year is half over but the English have entered it as having the world’s number one test cricket team, Chelsea have secured the European Champion’s League football trophy, England have begun playing in the European football championships and next month London will host the Olympic Games. The British have invented a staggering number of games and it is good to see that at last they seem to be doing well in some of them. Expectations are high for the Olympic Games in contrast to the national football team’s chances of winning the current championships but there again no one gave Chelsea much chance for gaining their title.
Earlier this month the United Kingdom celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There were pageants and street parties aplenty. In the eight years following the Second World War the British held an Olympic games, celebrated crowning the present Queen and then like now the country was fighting its way out of austerity.
In the words of W H Auden, “No human being is innocent, but there is a class of innocent human actions called Games”. It is time for innocent fun. Peatmore Press has entered into the spirit of the occasion by publishing its third title, “Gifford’s Games.” It has nothing to do with the Olympics but everything to do with games.