Well done all of us

I don’t like any sport.

I’m not unique in this.  There are many people who seriously have no interest in any sport.  Yet for each one of us there are probably 50 people who are devoted to a sport, usually football.  And there’s another 50 who don’t mind it.

But, I don’t like sport.

(Not porn, beach volleyball, honest)

For that reason, I didn’t watch any of the Olympic games for my own personal consumption.  It was fascinating hearing other people going on about how they were watching stuff they “wouldn’t normally watch” yet were watching because it was the Olympics.

Ok, I can fully understand watching beach volleyball.  I have no idea what the rules are, but as any full blooded male will agree, it is ‘interesting’ to watch.  But, that’s not watching the actual sport, is it?

Since the Olympics were only for a couple of weeks, and they were being held in my country, and I’d probably not see that happen again in my lifetime, I let it not annoy me as much as it might otherwise have.

The absence of any news or information about anything other than sport via any broadcast medium would otherwise have driven me to running around the roads naked and screaming.

Yet, I soaked up the atmosphere and that strange feeling of euphoria that almost everybody, including those oddballs who write The Guardian, felt as if they were at one and at peace with each other.

I watched the opening and closing ceremonies.

The opening ceremony confused me, and the first part of it throwing back to ancient Britons and the commonly held stereotyping of Great Britain made me despair.  Then suddenly it got interesting.  By the time that the Queen was jumping out of a plane with James Bond, and Mr Bean was having problems playing Chariots of Fire, I was completely hooked.  Yep, I got it totally.  This was who we were.  This was who we are.  And what a brilliant sense of humour we actually have when we’re not sneering about something.

Before the opening ceremony, the newspapers were doing their usual “We’re all doomed!” crap.  They didn’t have faith in cool Britannia.  No doubt by the time you read this, they’ll be back to their sniping and sneering.  They’ll be busy trying to pull back down and the good stuff that they helped (finally) build up.

We had a couple of weeks of the population here relaxing, feeling happy, forgetting all the doom and gloom about the economy, lack of jobs and cost of living.  For those few short weeks, we all had fun.  We all felt a sense of unity and of purpose.  Hopefully we will keep as much of that as we can through the Paralympics too. 

We found our identity.

“What is Britishness?” is a question most people can’t answer, we are so confused, apologetic and fragmented. However, the Olympics and the feel-good factor from them helped us define ‘Britishness’.  The games helped us define ourselves.

As a nation, temporarily at least, we became something beyond the self-whipping boy constantly having to repent for our one time colonial sins, and instead became a people happy about the here and now and letting our hair down.

Oh boy, to be able to capture and bottle that spirit to bring out during the dark days ahead, eh?