Monday 10 March 2008

Scotland, England, Ireland (not Wales)

It's strange where your allegiances lie and will be interesting to see how our boys' attitudes develop, given the mix of their parents' nationalities.

Rugby: I was delighted to watch Scotland beat England 15-9 in the wind and rain (and sun) at Murrayfield on Saturday, only their third win over the Auld Enemy since the glorious Grand Slam of 1990. Sean and Finn were shouting "Scawt-lind! Scawt-lind!" in time-honoured schoolboy chant fashion, for the few minutes that they paused from jumping all over me and the sofas. According to the English-centric ITV news, Scotland "snatched victory" from the English. Interesting turn of phrase given that Scotland were never behind in the game. The sort of phrase that does bring out the rabid "wha's like us?" mentality.

Cricket: I was then appalled at England's demise in 53 overs on the final day of the first test match versus New Zealand, collapsing to 110 all out and a 189-run defeat on a docile pitch. I didn't always support England at cricket. As a child I just liked the most exciting teams and players which usually meant anyone playing against England, especially the West Indies. Gradually though I came to support England as the "local" team, however disappointing that can be. Mainly now I just want to see Australia beaten!

Football: Supporting Scotland has been an arduous task over the years but, like following St. Mirren, I don't have much choice in that one.

Golf: It's a Ryder Cup year and since 1985 this has been the sporting contest that has meant the most to me, despite being only a moderately interested golf fan. Possibly because it is the European underdogs against the cocky Yanks at the only recognisable world sport that both play in a team context and possibly because Europe has had such success over the last twenty years, it has been thrilling to watch and given me the greatest boosts and a few horrible let-downs in that time.

As with most of my sporting support, I seem doomed to follow mediocre teams who disappoint far more than they elevate. Does my nature crave confirmation of low expectations? I'd argue not. As an individual I like to compete and come out on top. But I've got lazier over the years and it's easier to stick in my comfort zone and think that none of us are very good. That's not a view that I want the boys to endorse, of course, especially if they grow to be able young men. Hard work is worth it, most of the time, and if you can't depend on who you support to uplift you, you have to do it yourself.

Sean is starting to take a little interest in watching football when the highlights are on, but neither him nor Finn are showing any great sporting prowess to date, preferring their running-around and imaginative play. Sean's weekly Ball Sports class frequently passes without him getting a touch of the Ball, regardless of the Sport being played! It's early days yet!

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