August 14, 2012

Fun and games

Filed under: misc — Duchess @ 9:16 pm

I don’t know how it was for you, but the supporters of Team GB had a jolly good time. On the whole, we like losing, which we do often and well, but it turns out we like winning even better.

And ever since we famously gave up our stiff upper lip the night that wayward princess didn’t buckle up for safety (or, as the Brits say, clunk, click, every trip), we’ve been following dear Rudyard’s advice, and treating triumph and disaster just the same.

Some press wag dubbed these the Crying Games, and he or she got it just right. Andy Murray warmed us up by sobbing through his Wimbledon Final runner-up speech a few weeks before the Games began, and he served up more tears after he walloped the same opponent and took gold.

One after one the winners wept through the raising of their flag as they choked out the words to their national anthem, while the losers have thrown themselves on the ground, inconsolable in their grief.

All this weeping put everyone in a good mood. Londoners stopped complaining about the Soviet-style appropriation of whole lanes of busy roads, open only to the “Olympic Family”, and hardly anyone is still muttering about the elderly men of the IOC, who resemble nothing so much as good, old-fashioned apparatchiks.

Never mind them, we medalled 65 times, and Team GB finished third in the tables. “Inspire a generation” is the new catch phrase.

I don’t think I am quite the generation they have in mind, but I am a very suggestible person. I am incapable of seeing anyone cry without tears streaming down my face, and the other day, filled with Olympic emotion, I joined the hoards of the all-choked-up queueing in the sports shop.

Reader, I bought a yoga mat and downloaded a running app for my phone. I’m assured that this will turn me from a couch potato to a 5k runner in only two months.

I haven’t done any running yet, but I did listen to the app. It says alternately every 90 seconds in a loud and cheerful voice, “Okay, let’s jog!” and “Okay, let’s walk!”. After 20 minutes of this it says, “Great! I knew you could do it!”

What? No blubbing?

As for the verbal use of the noun “medal” I refer sceptics to the OED, which sites such use as early as 1822 by no less a writer than Byron, and after him, Thackery. I admit I draw the line at “podiumed”. Whatever else it is, it’s a syllable too far, and I don’t think it will catch on, though it does add scope for an extra sob.


  1. But there’s always depodiumization for an athlete stripped of his/her medal for testing positive (malurination)after medaling.

    Comment by Walter Maroney — August 14, 2012 @ 10:32 pm

  2. I love the Olympics and become hypnotized by the games. I cry at everything too and this year brought back a lot of special “London” memories!

    Comment by Twenty Four At Heart — August 15, 2012 @ 12:38 am

  3. Ha ha, ‘The Crying Games’ – I like!
    I wonder how many others were inspired to invest in fitness equipment and/or gym membership they’ll never use as a result.
    Ironic that only days later the government gives schools cart blanche to sell off their remaining playing fields. eh?
    Though the trouble about the ‘inspiring a generation’ theme is that everything in Britain is yesterday’s news in such a flash, even the Olympics. I don’t think anything really has a lasting impact on us any longer as we are so blase about everything and plugged into our electronic distractions.

    Comment by The Poet Laura-eate — August 16, 2012 @ 10:26 pm

  4. First of all, what’s with all the ‘we’ stuff? You seem hell-bent on passing the Tebbit test. I never have and never will, although I am happy for my adoptive country (I am quite fond of old Blighty) to have come up trumps.
    I did enjoy all the blubbing, perhaps the surprise at actually winning was too great to pass without a show of emotion. I was surprised myself. Stiff upper lip my foot. Not that I cried, but I certainly admired the sheer effort of will which turned a nation of sporting no-hopers of Olympic proportions into a nation able to celebrate an undoubted and well deserved success story. And how well everything went. I think the Brits couldn’t believe it themselves. Muddling through and proud of it? Not this time. A heroic effort bore fruit, for once. I found the closing ‘ceremony’ a bit of a turn-off, I’m not that enamoured of pop concerts, but, as with the opening ceremony, the mechanics of it were a treat to behold.
    Didn’t they do well?
    PS: I am looking forward to meeting you in October. Let me have details in good time, please, I need to organise support for the home front.

    Comment by friko — August 17, 2012 @ 2:14 am

  5. I wanted to drop by and thank you for your nudge of a few weeks back, to which I WILL respond!! In fact, I was in the middle of writing something that might end up as publishable when your comment arrived. You made me laugh then, and even more now that I’ve read your latest.
    Were there an Olympic event for humour, the Brits would take the three top spots every time. You are a particularly fine representative of your country.

    Comment by Deborah — August 27, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  6. Duchess, Deborah tells me you nudged her to get writing again. Although I am fully behind you in this respect I’d quite like to see you making a small effort too.
    Your silences are long . . . . . . .

    Comment by friko — September 5, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

  7. I do hope your blog isnt petering out? Found you through Bones and love the tone and the ton.Thanks.

    Comment by failbetter — October 14, 2012 @ 8:40 am

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