We’re simply the best – better than all the rest
Last updated at 20:00, Thursday, 26 July 2012
I don't care how cynical you have been, I bet tonight – if you are not at Maryport Blues Festival – you are watching the opening of the London Olympic Games.
And I bet, furthermore, that if you own any type of television recording device you are at the blues festical AND recording the games!
It is so easy to be cynical, and the English have it down to a fine art.
It seems to me that all we have heard for the last seven years are complaints about what is going to go wrong with the Olympics; how it will do nothing to help us; how we are going to end up in more debt than Greece and so on and so on and so on.
Certainly we have had reason to grumble over the past couple of weeks with the debacle over security for the games, immigration officials striking and ticket sales.
If you have been watching the delightful BBC 2 television Twenty Twelve, about the fictional Olympic organising committee, you will be expecting a disaster – albeit a hilarious one.
Even as I write, I am listening to Radio 4’s satirical Now Show which is taking the Mick out of everything that has gone wrong.
We have heard their version of the opening ceremony, which appears to consist of James Bond musical themes with animal noises over the top.
It has just been suggested, by one of my favourite comedians, Hugh Dennis, that while Team GB has all the designer sports gear going, “the people hired to guard us from being blown up are the security equivalent to Ryan Air.”
I’m reporting this because it is funny, and not to buy into the cynicism and complaints about the games.
There will always be some problem with an event as huge as this.
But what we need to do, as a nation, is show how stoic we can be despite any difficulties. More importantly, let us show the world that we are not whining poms. Let us be welcoming and cheerful.
The games are in London, for goodness sake. These are the people who showed such extraordinary bravery, such unforgettable spirit while they were being bombed during the war.
Today sees the beginning of the world’s greatest sporting spectacle. It is something so wonderful and so positive. This is the total opposite to the Blitz so could we please, as a nation, enjoy and endorse it?
You can guarantee that if wecontinue to complain about the weather, or the cost of the Olympics, or the fact that they are being staged in London rather than Carlisle etc. then visitors from abroad will begin believe us; they might return home with a view that that takes the “Great” out of Great Britain.
Our newspaper sales increased substantially when we covered the Olympic torch’s arrival in West Cumbria last month.
I am delighted because it showed that, no matter how fashionable it is to be negative about the games, the arrival of the torch in Aspatria, Maryport, Workington, Cockermouth and Keswick was a huge deal for us all.
We turned out in our thousands to see the relay and, whether we knew the runners who passed us or not, I am sure we had a lump in our throats.
Just to deviate for a minute: I have been in this country for more than 10 years and in all that time I have wanted to meet Cumbria’s fell running champion Jos Naylor.
I finally got to meet him just before he ran with the torch through Flimby and he was able to answer my burning question.
I thought it was an urban myth when I was told that when Jos went to Norway they could understand him because his Cumbrian dialect was so close to Norwegian, coming from the same Viking roots. Apparently, and incredibly, it is totally true – and now I have heard it confirmed by the man himself!
The I am making is that we have plenty to be proud of.
We should be proud of people like Jos Naylor and all our own local sporting heroes.
We should be proud that we beat lots of other countries to win the right to stage the Olympic Games.
I hope that we will be proud at the end that we did it better than anywhere else.
Let’s be proud of the opening ceremony. Having false rain clouds this summer may be the height of irony but I think the sun will smile on these Olympics.
Let’s be proud of what we’ve got here. Instead of knocking our own festivals – the blues festival, Solfest, CockRock and many others – let’s just celebrate who we are.
We’re simply the best, better than all the rest, and these games will prove it.
First published at 19:25, Thursday, 26 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk