Are we happy as a nation of losers?
Published at 13:11, Tuesday, 10 July 2012
PICKING up my morning paper, I was prepared for the usual so-near-yet-so-far gush over tearful Andy Murray’s crashing defeat.
But seven pages? Seven whole pages had been given over to Britain’s latest miserable failure in a damp-squib summer of sport.
Good grief! What would they have done had he won?
Nearly 17 million people watched Andy Murray cry, after he lost his Wimbledon match to Roger Federer on Sunday. That’s not to say the same numbers watched him play – at least not from first gasp to last – but 17 million tuned in to watch him weep.
Why is Britain so inordinately fond of losers? How come we take such pride in being second best?
They are honest questions arising from genuine puzzlement over how this country manages to remain one of the last in the world to believe being the best doesn’t matter.
Is it that we hang on vainly to the myth that it’s the taking part that count? Because if it is, here’s the bad news. Everywhere else that line went out with tin bathtubs in kitchens.
Everywhere else it’s the winner’s trophy that counts... which is no doubt why everyone else keeps beating us.
Our sympathetic character is commendable, of course – up to a point. But it does seem we may have grown too used to celebration of “heroic defeat” – resignedly ruling out any possibility of heroic victory.
It bodes badly for The Olympics, where opportunities for defeat are limitless and heroism is already being vaunted.
It bodes not so well either for most other aspects of British life. Are we now such a sorry lot that we can happily settle for not quite good enough as our natural default position? It’s beginning to look that way.
“Well, I’m getting closer,” Murray tried to joke through choked back sobs, in his obligatory post-match interview with Sue Barker.
“I’d say that’s the best I’ve played in a Slam final.” Hmm.
And then the tears came. Even he knew closer could never be close enough. He knew being runner-up was not the great shakes he’d worked and prayed for.
He knew Britain – and Scotland – have waited too long to be as good as, if not better than the rest.
He probably also knew a nation would be weeping with him. Less through disappointment – again. More through being moved to a collective national outpouring for yet another heroic defeat. He’d lost the final and won our hearts. Odd.
Had he won, he’d have been our first Men’s Singles champ since Fred Perry, 75 years ago. Not having a look-in at the trophy for three quarters of a century is hardly something to be proud of. Is it?
We’re a nation of sports lovers and that’s just grand. But we’ve grown into a nation of accepting losers. And that’s really not.
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
No we just don,t want a racist Scot with a face like a melted funeral candle to prosper.
"Britainâs latest miserable failure"Heh, reaching the final of Wimbledon is an achivement in itself. I fail to see how this is a "miserable failure"...Your writing here is pessimistic and obvilously bias to condemn the people who are 'below' you.