SW 19, Welsh Football and Trust…

5 Jul

Win or lose tomorrow night the Welsh soccer boyos will be heroes. The Icelandic nation clapped their losers in Reykjavik with a pride that warmed the cockles. So it will be in Cardiff whatever the result. Gareth Bale seems to have morphed from superstar into team man while Christiano Ronaldo has remained the aloof galactico in Portugal’s talented bunch of, apparently, individuals.

While the week of the long knives continues in politics it is clear that there aren’t many team players around. Boris the Spider, Pouty Gove and Farridge claimed they represented team Britain but they are all Ronaldos without being good looking or the ability to score anything other than own-goals. The Labour Party is no team either. It’s a if the PLP have been biding their time to hammer the bedraggled Corbyn. But the membership still like him. It may be that he is more trustworthy than the Westminster bubblewrap. Theresa May in the blue corner is touting her trustworthiness – well compared with the deceit all around her she might have a chance. Whatever the case I am (a) losing interest in the political circus and (b) know that the nation will be losers one way or another, after Brexit. Our political class don’t have our trust – they are too busy infighting and imagining an importance that we no longer confer on them. The tabloids today were far more concerned with Chris Evans’s resignation from Top Gear.

Ah but when the sun shines and Wimbledon is in its second week, we lighten up a little. Style, honesty, brilliance, graciousness – Federer. Brutal, muscular power, glistening athleticism – Williams. Both move slowly between points, particularly Serena, as if she has to summon up another brooding, violent moment of brilliance and needs the time to wind up. Roger seems to take winning and (occasional) losing and treats those two imposters just the same. All’s right with the world when these superstars are on court, Sue Barker twittering away in the studio and John McEnroe kicking Tim Henman and Andrew Castle into commentating touch.

I tune in a lot over the Womble fortnight because I trust what I will see and hear. Brilliance, sportsmanship, quality. The emergence of stars in the making and the reliable excellence of the older stagers who set the standards. By the end of Wimbledon fortnight we applaud the winners but, equally, we have all enjoyed the journey. So too with the Euros, although they will fade more quickly in the minds of this Englishman. But I will be cheering on the Welsh tomorrow although I’ll fall short of singing Land of my Fathers. There is something Wimbledon-white-pure about fair sporting battles- the mighty individuals and teams – which leave a much better taste than the unedifying political manoeuvrings of recent weeks.

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