Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Patriot Games?

When it comes to sport, I am, of course, completely irrational. My problem being that I have a patriotic streak a mile wide - and it seems to me that in the UK (especially England) a lot of people appear to have a problem with this. Take Andy Murray, for instance. We have just returned from an amazing trip to New York to see the Men's Semi-finals at Flushing Meadow - this being my birthday present (in February) from my lovely husband. Obviously, the plan was to see Murray whom we could confidently expect still to be in the tournament on 'Super Saturday' as they call it in the US. He wasn't. We had a great time anyway but it would have been the icing on the cake to have had a Brit playing.

Anyway, cue lots of general grumbling in the press about 'Andy's failure'. As I see it, he is Number 4 in the world - still - and most tennis playing countries would give their eye teeth - whatever they are - to have him playing for them. Yes, he lacks certain social skills but hey, we had Tim Henman (also one-time Number 4) - all charm and Britishness and even fewer people seemed to like him!

The point of all this is that if we have a Brit playing sport at the highest level, I am right behind them. Yes, I did stay up till a ridiculous time watching those Scottish curling women in the Commonwealth Games a few years ago! And yes, Jonny Wilkinson is the greatest man ever to have laced up a pair of rugby boots.

However, the Yanks have no such issue. The hurrah when the finalists for the Boys Final at the US Open was announced was huge - two American boys in the final! And if it is one thing that I bring back from my trip to the US it is that patriotism - in sport, in life, hanging the stars and stripes outside your front door, you name it - is not a dirty word.

Can you imagine the general reaction if I was to erect a flag pole and hang the union flag from it at home? The men in the white coats would doubtless be called. It's easy to support the player - or the country - that you think will be the winner. I am not ashamed of my Britishness and I will - sometimes irrationally - continue to support the Brit in any sport - even when they are the underdog. Go Andy!

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