So, not only am I denied one of my daily guilty pleasures (do they EVER actually win the final Chase?!), but as I sit here I have just seen, out of the corner of my unwilling eye, two goals scored against Greece within the opening ten minutes of the game – adding insult to injury in that I have a definite bias towards Greece.
Ok, it being your favourite holiday destination may not be the most compelling argument for offering support, but it's the best I can come up with.
I'm not really a sports fan, which is difficult to admit in a year destined to go down in UK sporting history. Not long now before we are knee deep in the ACTUAL Olympics, not just the pre-games frenzy of anticipation. Don't get me wrong, I am hugely proud of this great country of ours which showed the world how thing's should be done not two weeks ago. I have immense admiration for the sportsmen and women, the athletes and the organisers of what promises to be an ‘unmissable’ sporting event. Only that's the problem, for me, most of it is a little bit ‘missable’. Until it gets to the bit where we are winning a few medals or a really good human interest story emerges. Likewise with Euro 2012... although the corner of my eye has just been drawn TV-wards again by something of a Greek God on the touchline, the actual competition means little to me until the closing stages, and then only if England have somehow managed to get themselves past the first round.
Although it has to be said, at last we sent our footballers off in the manner they deserved – absolutely NO expectation, no anticipation, no hype and no bragging. And I mean this in a positive way. I caught sight of the England squad as they left for the tournament, and was struck by how uncharacteristically mature they seemed to look; none of the usual swagger and bravado. Is this because, finally, no pressure is being put on them to bring home a trophy that realistically they are unlikely to win? For years we've been sending our boys off practically demanding they come home with the silverware, in the mistaken belief that if we say it enough they may be good enough to beat the odds. When they have inevitably returned home at best empty handed, at worst totally humiliated (World Cup 2010 anyone?) they get lambasted for not living up to the nation's pie in the sky dreams of glory.
So this year the team, the fans, the pundits and possibly even the manager, have pretty much been keeping schtum – avoiding total negativity but quietly implying that they expect very little return from this Tournament. That having been said, last night our first match resulted in a draw. Such has been the lack of expectation I notice that some of the newspapers have been hailing this as a massive achievement! I didn't watch the game (I would have if I hadn't been working, honest!) but the snippets I have heard on the TV and radio today suggest that it was a game of two halves, and we performed well in only one of them. But already there stir the rumblings of anticipation, we just can't help ourselves! I logged onto my Mail Order Catalogue website to find them offering a 10% discount for 24hours after the final whistle in recognition of the team's 'sterling efforts!'
OK, it's going to happen, if we get through to the next round will we really be able to stifle our optimism - and should we? There’s nothing wrong with getting behind the team, urging them on and demonstrating our belief in them. But don't set them up to fail, don't heap criticism on their (albeit overpaid) heads if they try and don't succeed.
After all, it's Wimbledon soon and Andy Murray is DEFINITELY going to win it this year...
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