No Football? – Thanks to the Olympics
Watching the Olympics, and to me that is all of the Olympics where great athletes who have committed themselves for years to competing on the world stage with no guarantee of success reminded me of a notice that used to be hung on the wall of a training shed in HMS Excellent which said,
‘For those who thrive on competition and whose nature is strengthened by formidable tasks and seemingly insurmountable odds even at the risk of defeat enter the arena in the quest for victory’
It was a place where the Portsmouth Command Field Gun Crew trained before going on to compete in the annual competition against Devonport and the Fleet Air Arm at the Royal Tournament in Earls Court and which the winners got a silver medal and the losers bronze. In reality winners take all and there was no second or third, just losers.
What was unusual was that in Field Gun whilst the competition took place every year, each team could only select two teams of 18, an A and B crew, of which only 12 were allowed to have run before and there had to be 3 years between the last time you competed making it incredibly difficult to go back for a second, third or even more attempts.
How does it apply to the Olympics and football?
To start with the way in which those involved in the Olympics have acted and behaved be it as winners or losers has been fantastic almost invariably with a degree of modesty, determination and graciousness shown by almost everyone be they competitors, families or coaching staff.
What a great example to give to our aspiring young people.
Contrast that with the behaviour of highly paid professional and some say overpaid footballers and managers who have already started complaining about ‘the pressure’.
What is clear is that they don’t even understand what is happening in the real world and there is no better example than a comment made by a former premier league player in an interview on BBC when asked if the Olympic spirit could be applied to football said,
“It can’t because footballers are under pressure every week and don’t just pop up every four years”
What a crass and stupid statement.
Tell that to those who train day in day out for more than the two hours footballers train for, and have to compete all over the world in preparation, and with no certainty of being selected to ‘pop up’ when the Olympics come around every four years, and all in many cases without financial support from anywhere other than their families.
I tweeted during the Olympics that I’d be giving football a miss this year and guess what, not watching overpaid prima donors has worked a treat because I’m now watching all of the other sports like the Tour of Spain in cycling and Rugby League.
What an impact it would have if millions suddenly sent a message to Rupert Murdoch and the Premier League Clubs by walking away from them and spending their hard-earned money on supporting other sports.
The recent full house for the athletics in Birmingham and the fantastic response to the Paralympics may be the start of such a shift, even though I expect it will be on a relatively small-scale.
The challenge is for the legacy of the Olympics to continue which can only happen if more people support those sports that have so enthralled us all over the past six weeks.