There’s quite a lot of sport happening in London at the moment, I don’t know if you’ve noticed. I’ve even watched some of it – mostly the stuff you don’t see very often on telly, like the synchronised diving, or the judo (which looks like full body contact thumb war to me). It’s lovely to see everyone enjoying it and generally having an ace time, and I love that London is essentially having a slo-mo sports festival; there’s a lot of cheer in the city.
One of things that all this sport makes me think about is how much I am not a sportsperson. This surfaced briefly as a twitter discussion last night, but competitiveness generally makes me very uncomfortable – not because I think it’s bad, but because I’m just not wired that way. There’s been some incidents of competitors contesting goals, points, medals even, and there’s been footage of people celebrating their hard won medals, only to have it taken away because someone else contested it; cue hugely disappointed faces, misery, despair. I’m not sure that I could do that to a person, especially not after they’d done all the jumping about and cheering. Ah, you may say, but what if you’ve trained every day of your life for 4 years for it, all focusing on this one moment, all to be the bestest competitor of all… but that’s my point, I suppose. I’m not that person.
There was also the interview with the poor chap in the Judo who lost his match in one devastating throw (interviewing him directly afterwards was pretty unfair, in my opinion). I can’t imagine dedicating so much of your life to that one moment, just to have it snatched away from you – it’s terrifying, and incredibly brave. At least if you spend years of your life writing a book and the publisher you desperately want to take it on rejects it, there’s still other publishers, still other people that might love it as much as you do. It isn’t over, and the thing that you made will always be there.
So, I suppose what I’m taking from this is: the athletes in the Olympics are brave, and not just for wearing lycra; making things is great because they remain with you forever and are not diminished by comparison to other things; and there was little chance of me ever enjoying P.E anyway.
ps) I've decided that I love the weird Olympic mascots, specifically because they look a bit like baby Great Old Ones.