Friday, 10 August 2012

London 2012 - Nothing Less Than an Inspiration!

Jessica Ennis wins Gold for Great Britain

Given the size of Great Britain and the rather embarrassing fact that competitive sport and sporting achievement receive virtually zero encouragement amongst the kids here from schools and government, "Team GB's" medal haul at the London 2012 games is nothing short of miraculous!

I'll admit though, prior to the Olympics opening ceremony, I was hugely cynical about London 2012, the organisers seemed to be doing their utmost to mess the whole thing up, everyone north of Watford knew that, as is often the case in the UK, where London would reap the rewards, the rest of us would most likely see no benefit at all, maybe even ending up worse off in the long run and it all seemed primed to be a complete disaster. 

The Olympics came hot on the heels of "The Jubilee" (barf). I hated the jubilee "celebrations," forced enjoyment of a complete non-achievement and an ugly throwback to the middle ages, where servitude is thrust upon the people who actually make Great Britain what it is, and luxury bestowed upon the privileged few purely for being born into a family which decided once upon a time it was better than everyone else and for whom we, the people, should foot the bill so they can live a life of bloated excess.

To say I was a bit "bah humbug" would be an understatement...

Then I watched the opening ceremony, an epic, overblown explosion of pomp and circumstance that was an all out and unapologetic celebration of all things British, conceived and created by Danny Boyle of "Trainspotting" fame and I was blown away, "hang on," I thought, "we might actually make a good go of not cocking this all up!"

Then I read this from the bible of the ignorant, bigoted and outraged middle and upper classes of England, the Daily Mail...

“This was supposed to be a representation of modern life in England but it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up...
Almost, if not every, shot in the next sequence included an ethnic minority performer. The BBC presenter Hazel Irvine gushed about the importance of grime music (a form of awful electronic music popular among black youths) to east London. This multicultural equality agenda was so staged it was painful to watch.”
For a newspaper which is known for unashamedly promoting mistrust and fear of anyone non-white, non-christian, non-straight and generally non-English, nobody would need to know the source of such unadulterated filth before identifying the culprit, after all, this is the newspaper which infamously supported and fund raised for the NAZI party pre-WWII, a newspaper which anybody with any level of intelligence, decency and social awareness knows to treat with the contempt and ridicule it deserves.

The article was actually a hatchet piece on the NHS, and socialised health care, one of the few remaining things Great Britain can be proud of and a necessity for any (and thankfully almost every) self respecting civilised nation, but it couldn't resist veering off into the tried and tested, casual racism and hateful sneering bigotry which is a major feature of it's approach to reporting "news."

Photoshopped but not beyond the realms of possibility

The article also showed support for another ignorant bigot, Tory MP Aiden Burley, who tweeted that Boyle's opening ceremony was "a load of multi-cultural crap" or in other words, "too many darkies..." The response was immediate and even for glorified toilet paper masquerading as a newspaper to spread its hate filled agenda of lies and bigotry, it was a low point, so much so the article was reworded, then pulled completely.

It was very typical of Great Britain to immediately start bringing something down before it had even begun and it made me feel like fighting back a bit, for someone who can't be described as a patriot, for the first time in years and years I decided to get involved in the spirit of things and I have to say that the London Olympics has been a revelation and one which has restored pride to a beleaguered and divided country.

How sweet it was to see Jessica Ennis, a product of what the Daily Mail seems to find so impossible, a well adjusted, middle class family made up of a white mother and black father, absolutely annihilate the competition to win gold, for Mo Farrah, a softly spoken and humble Muslim immigrant to provide a thrilling end to the 10,000m, Andy Murray to completely boss Roger Federer, Nicky Adams in the boxing, the rowing, the cycling, all of it has been pretty incredible!

The brilliant Nicola Adams

But it's not just the achievements and medals for Team GB which has lit up the last two weeks for me. Every athlete from every nation has gone through hardship, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears with complete dedication just to compete, even those who realistically know they have no chance of winning their event. The humility of these athletes, the sportsmanship, the joy of competing and the unbridled emotion of giving their all has inspired me enormously. These are people who give their all, not for money or fame, but to try to win a medal and take away a sense of pride that they did their best.

The support from the stands has been a combination of heart warming, exultant, awe inspiring and inspirational. I come from a football background as a player and a traditional supporter who follows his club home and away, I like my football support partisan, almost rabid in the belief in one cause, but I have been inspired by the sportsmanlike approach of the people attending all the events during London 2012 and it's clear all the athletes appreciate and enjoy the atmosphere in which they are competing.

The feelgood factor is an under-rated motivator for anyone who wants to achieve something in the face of adversity. Negativity is toxic, no matter how positive a person you may be, constant negativity will bring you down and damage your state of mind so a country, proud of the achievements of people with humility, grace, manners and class, naturally oozes positive vibes, even our usually repugnant media has got on board and it feels great.

The BBC's coverage has been, as you would expect, mostly brilliant, the weather has even been not too bad and people are actually giving McDonalds a swerve and getting on bikes and going for a run, it's nothing short of a miracle!

For me, I thrive on positivity, I need it, I can create my own, I have to, but I need it back, it inspires me and gives me energy so I have been like a man possessed in the last couple of weeks. I've been editing "Of Shark and Man," making serious progress, writing all the content for the new "From the Office..." website and teaching myself how to create a new website (something I detest doing) for Scarlet View Media. I've been photographing bands, trying to generate work and generally slogging my knackers off. I may not be out there trying to break the 100m world record, but my reinvigorated approach to life in general is a direct result of the efforts of the athletes, organisers and public who have all made London 2012 an Olympics to remember.

So for my reinvigorated attitude to life, the inspiration you have given everybody, the restoration of faith that professional sport isn't an entirely rancid cesspit of corporate greed and for the humility and sportsmanship on display for everyone to see, I say forget the naysayers, the bigots and those who can only enjoy criticising, I want to say thank you to all the Olympic athletes and to Team GB, you've even managed to restore a bit of patriotism in me.

You're all an inspiration.

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