Plus a few thoughts on Olympic and Commonwealth Legacy
Over the past year or so it seems that it’s not so bad to be Scottish. We’ve had a taste of how it feels to win at major sporting events, and do you know what it feels good.
OK, so it might not feel so brilliant whilst your bobbing on the edge of your seat, and sweating almost as much as the man on Centre Court – who managed to make a straight sets win feel more like victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. Or is that just our interpretation of the emotional rollercoaster that was the Murray Wimbledon win? But one thing is certain it feels good to win. Sir Chris Hoy. Tick. Katherine Grainger and Heather Stanning. Tick. Ryan Mania. Tick. Feel free to add your own names to the list if we’ve missed anyone.
We’ve even learned not to get upset when Murray is named as a British and not a Scottish player, well most of us have, even if Alex Salmond never misses a photo-bombing flag raising opportunity. Perhaps it’s all this Team GB stuff we swallowed last summer. Maybe it is rather bonding after all.
It seems a little ironic in the midst of the referendum debate but there seems to be greater ease about sharing the collective success of British wins. A not entirely media fed pride in British athletes and what they’ve achieved. Is it just us who enjoyed the sight of Dame Kelly Holmes jogging effervescently round Glasgow last week to promote the 2014 Commonwealth Games? Just us who burst with pride at Chris Frome’s Tour victory? And who continue to vicariously enjoy Mo Farah’s cheerful toppling of records that fall like skittles in his wake? Are we becoming a nation of sports lovers beyond rugby and football? But ahhh – the Lions!
Can we look forward to generations of sporting success? Are we getting rather used to the glory? English cricketers are probably still celebrating a rather soggy win at Old Trafford yesterday but as The Independent reported this morning “Of course, it was all anti-climactic because we have come to expect the Ashes to be won.”
Still, expected, or not, all this winning is inspiring. There will be a rash of boys out with their cricket bats this morning, dreaming of playing for England one day. But will it make a difference long term; can we look forward to generations of sporting success?
For sure big wins for the likes of Murray have an immediate impact on numbers showing interest in tennis but for this to have a lasting impact and for future champions to come through the infrastructure needs to be there, and that means facilities and coaching.
Newsround, the CBBC kids news show commissioned a survey to see if, a year on from London 2012, children are playing more sport. They canvassed 1,645 boys and girls from all over the UK and over half said they were now playing more sport. The downside is that 42% said they wanted to take up a new sport but lack of facilities prevented this. Swimming and tennis top the league of sports kids wanted to do but can’t because facilities don’t exist.
It certainly does seem common sense to suggest that without access to good facilities any legacy is wasted. That’s one of the reasons it’s so heartening to see the venues for Glasgow 2014 open and available for the public to use prior to the games. Imagine being able to pedal along to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome – we’re not quite sure this is how it works but for the sake of argument. That truly is amazing.
And there’s the new Tollcross International Swimming Centre, revamped, open and ready to go. No last minute builds and massive overspends. The legacy has begun a year before the games and surely that’s a good thing.
Who can tell if it will create future champions but we hope it does, winning feels good.
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