Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Olympian Excess

We British always go over the top. I know all other countries probably do the same thing (except perhaps Australia where they must be pig sick to trail in behind the Poms). See, I've even caught the 'we are world beaters' disease myself. All that's actually happened is that our Olympic team has performed brilliantly, and has lifted our spirits by winning more medals than we expected. But its still only a game. The Chinese might have been happy to blow however many renmimbi make up £100 billion plus, and indulge a bit of camera trickery, to win the world's applause (and this might turn out to be worthwhile if they get a taste for international admiration). But its still only a game. I never did agree with Bill Shankley (or was it Bob Paisley) who when asked whether football was 'a matter of life and death', responded with "Its much more important than that". I don't have a problem with competitors getting emotional about victory and defeat. It still hurts when I think of my good mate, Mungo Munro taking me 10-9 in the fifth set to win the first Montgomeryshire Open Squash Final - and that was 20 years ago! It hurts - but it was still only a game.

One benefit of all this fuss, and the inevitable efforts to grab some 'glory by association' is that funds for the National Lottery may be diverted back to what Sir John Major intended when this great Government-sponsored gambling game was set up. Today's Telegraph reports that Jeremy Hunt, shadow culture spokesman is saying that a Conservative Government would stop lottery funds being diverted into projects which should properly be funded by the Treasury. Hooray to that.

Despite this 'grumpy old man' post I have to admit that if I'd still been an Assembly Member, I'd have been inside the Sennedd today to welcome the Welsh medallists - especially the wonderful Nicole Cooke, whose career this blog has been stalking for years. OK, just to get up close and meet them. Privileged access to the Grand Slam Team was the biggest perk of my 8 years as an Assembly Member. But even that was only a game.

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