Archive | July, 2019

Games, Winning and Education..

15 Jul

In 1975 a Cambridge philosopher, Charles Bailey, wrote a controversial article ‘Games, Winning and Education’ in which he suggested that team games, indeed games involving opponents, had no place in the school curriculum. Allowing for certain bi-products such as sportsmanship, the team-ethic etc, Charles, as I remember, argued that the presence of an opponent involves the tawdry desire for him/her to lose. Further it encourages gamesmanship, playing to the letter but not the spirit of rules and a number of other unwholesome outcomes. Better to teach rock climbing and yoga where the individual challenges him/herself and let clubs outside school get on with teaching the professional foul.

Now Charles might carp at my crude summary of his argument but you get the gist. After yesterday’s super Sunday (Cricket, DjokFed,F1 and Netball) and with the Ashes, Open Golf and World Cup rugby on the horizon, sport in general and games in particular are in our faces in a glorious way this summer. Oft has it been said that the great gladiatorial clashes of individuals and teams take the emotions of nations to levels of agony and ecstasy beyond the dull opiate of politics. Well the beam-me-up-Scottie factor is desperately needed these days.

What we saw in the truly great matches at Wimbledon and Lord’s yesterday was sporting combat played with levels of intensity beyond any of our wildest sporting experience. And in the moments of victory and defeat we saw humility, sportsmanship and an appreciation of the opponent which was an education for young and old; something that sports teachers and club coaches should carry with them as they guide our newly enthused youngsters down the fun path of participation and joy in sport.

Without wanting to dampen the mood of the moment, I wonder whether Messrs  Johnson, Hunt or Corbyn learnt very much at all from their sporting education? We know that Boris liked rugger at prep school but his bull-in-a-china-shop outtakes suggest that he learnt little of team tactics. Jeremy-rhyming-slang, although Head Boy at Charterhouse seems to have no sporting credits according to Wikipedia. Presumably that was why he was made Minister for Culture, Media and Sport. As for Jezza the Red, his claim to sporting fame rests on his support of the Gunners, be they Hezbollah or Arsenal. He too, of course, went to a prep school and, after, a grammar school. Institutions that he would now ban, of course. If we add Theresa maybe into the equation, we have only the Maybot to gauge her athletic abilities. Hmm.

It might be interesting to look at the sporting education of those in public office whom we admire most. For the time being I hope that those to whom we entrust our democracy, can learn from the planning, expertise, determination, stamina, execution, integrity, humility, honour and respect for their games and their opponents – all these things displayed in vast measure, yesterday – Super Sunday. A real education. And a delight for the nation.

Advertisements

Fist Pumping and High Fives…

11 Jul

The Trumpmeister will be pumping and hand-slapping round the White House this morning after Sir Kim fell on his sword, obligingly held at the appropriate angle by Boris the Spider. What a demeaning end to an estimable career. When a relationship is dubbed special,¬†the unspoken proviso is that it is a pairing of equals. Boris’s squirming non-answer (one of many) to the question of whether he would back Sir Kim, betrayed a toadying, arse-licking, walk-all-over-us approach to Anglo-American relations. And the Donald high-fived his way round the twitterati with joy.

Almost every walk of life seems to revel in overstated hand-gestures to indicate pleasure, small successes, cajoling support, mini-victories. Doubles players at Wimbledon, I note, can’t get through a point without little hand touches and conspiratorial chats behind tennis balls and cupped hands. Rafa the faffa has so many personal ticks and ball bounces that I find myself mesmerized more by his twitching routines than the game he is paid gazillions to play. World Cup batters fist pump at every opportunity such is their need for glove-touch approval. I wonder what Sir Colin Cowdrey would have made of it all. Or even Beefy Botham. He didn’t need the reassurance of a partner’s touch to give the Aussies hell at Headingly.

As I write the ticks and touches are in full swing at Edgbaston and England have taken the early advantage. I’ll update shortly. Let’s reflect on the Boris and Jeremy Rhyming Slang. Despite the latter trying to look like the grown up in the room, the Spider’s extraordinary following amongst the party faithful will ensure the buffoon’s anointment as the ruler of Hades. After, we learn, six hours of debate-training his mantra of ‘Let’s not kick the can down the road…’ – repeated 5 times – echoed around the empty caverns of our economy. Boris’s approach to ITV’s confirmatory beauty contest was to smile, hand in pocket and treat the whole show as a bit of banter at the Oxford Union or the Eton debating chamber. Jeremy, hardly my favourite politician, sounded practical and relatively sane. Still it’s the 160,000 members who will decide. Half of these are my age or older, most are male and nearly all are white. God help us.

Reading George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, I discover another Boris. He’s an aristocrat (allegedly) who has fled Stalin’s Russia and find s himself scraping and begging a living on the streets of Paris, along with G.O. There may be a wish-fulfillment link here..

I search for the small inspirations of daily life and find them flourishing, despite the extraordinary unreality of Westminster and the White House. We are hunkering down and hoping that all will be well, I guess. There is something rotten out there, the invisible worm has eaten its way through to the skin and, I guess, we need horse-strength antibiotics to quell the infection. Have we reached the stage where those who govern are immune to such treatment? The Labour Party are in denial, the Conservatives are barking and we, the people, (and possibly the Lib Dems) need to get together and do some fist-pumping.

Aussies are 110 for 3. Fighting back. C’mon England! C’mon UK.

%d bloggers like this: