Cmoan Andy!

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Andy Murray is about to take to the Centre Court at Wimbledon to do battle with Novak Djokovic. After two captivating thrill-a-minute semi finals this is a match that promises much.  It hardly needs to be said that most of Scotland will be cheering for Murray, as will most of the other parts of the British Isles.

Wimbledon is a strange sporting beast. I’ll put my hand up without shame and say I love it. Its been an integral part of my summer since I was a kid cheering on the likes of Ilie Nastase and Yvonne Goolagong.  We never saw strawberries and cream in those days but there was Mr Whippy’s ice cream van and between the black-and-white televised matches we’d use our garden fence as a net and try our hand at tennis for a couple of weeks.

So much has changed since the long hot summers of the Seventies yet the institution of Wimbledon seems impervious to changes in the outside world.  Okay, there’s a hi tech roof over the Centre Court now, but the tournament itself and the culture that surrounds it remains steadfastly stuck in a previous century.  Some might argue the century in question isn’t even the twentieth.

The Centre Court at Wimbledon – as a spectacle – can be hilarious.  Its the sporting equivalent of The Last Night of the Proms – complete with promenaders (aka Henman Hill) -and has a similar perverse allure.  For most of us its about the tennis but for the English upper classes its an occasion to don their glad rags, bray like donkeys, and relive the glory days of Empire.  For the plebs watching on TV it gives us a chance to marvel at the social inadequacies of our ruling class.  (Knowing that Irvine Welsh is a huge Wimbledon fan I’ve often suspected that Mark Renton’s famous “colonised by wankers” speech in Trainspotting was written during Wimbledon).

This year’s Wimbledon finale comes with added spice. The Centre Court crowd are desperate for a British champion. You can almost taste their desperation its so palpable. They want a champion they can raise their champagne flutes to and hip hip hurrah late into the night.  You can feel the vibe. Last summer’s Olympics were such a wonderful celebration of all things British perhaps Andy can do it again…

To even mention politics on such an illustrious sporting occasion would be curmudgeonly.  And so.. un-British.  Damned poor show old chap. Yet mention it I will. For this is the final that dare not speak its nationality.

However churlish it may seem to to mention it there’s a shadow marked “September 2014” hanging over today’s proceedings.  Even if no one is so crass as to mention it the Centre Court crowd and its attendant sycophants (the BBC) are well aware of the impending catastrophe. Their response has been to revert back to 19th Century type, ostrich style, and drape themselves in the Union Jack.

For this viewer it has been quite weird watching Andy Murray’s primary nationality getting airbrushed out the picture. Its also quite weird watching the BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon where, between the action, camera operators repeatedly point their lenses at upper class weirdos decorated in Union Jacks. If he wins it will be even weirder to watch Andy Murray being goaded by political opportunists (aka the meeja) to wave a Union Jack to prove his, and his country’s, Britishness.

Should this bother anyone of a Scottish persuasion?  The mature rational answer is no. But in a mature rational de-nationed world we wouldn’t be cheering for Andy Murray over his opponent.  Which is why I’m glad I don’t live in a mature rational world. On occasions like this I enjoy being irrational and emotional. I enjoy being Scottish.  Its why, like most Scots this afternoon, I’ll serve every serve, return every return, and play every rally in Murray’s shoes. And why not. It’s not about the Centre Court crowd and their daft wee flags.  Nor the BBC.  It’s about an athlete we’ve taken to our hearts.

Cmoan Andy! Do it for Scotland. But most of all do it for yourself.

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  1. “Will they still love him in the morning?”

  2. Barontorc says:

    Put it this way, Andy can win or he can be beaten. That’s what makes this a sport and not a ‘national challenge’ that these aforementioned twerps long for.

    They are so up their own bahookies they don’t see the crassness of ‘Rule Britannia’ or how wrapping everyone in ‘their’ union flag makes them a possession of sorts, some kind of disposable asset that can tossed away when its shine dims.

    Little do they know what’s in Andy’s mind, but you can bet your boots it ain’t mother Engerland, it’s about winning! C’mon ya big smasher Andy.

  3. Being a life long tennis fan, I always wanted to go to Wimbledon,and about 5 years ago I got tickets. A Scottish friend who has lived in London for 40 years accompanied me. Like me, she had never been to Wimbledon before. We had been in the grounds for about 10 minutes and she turned to me and said, ‘It’s as if the British Empire has never gone away.’
    I have been calling Wimbledon ‘The annual loss of Empire Fest,’ ever since. Yes it’s sad to see them all, living in hope for a surrogate restoration, even sadder the ones that abuse Andy verbally, but the tennis is great, and John MacEnroe makes it every year.
    Go Andy.

  4. So how y’all feeling about that first set?!

  5. Abulhaq says:

    according to S Times Djokovič likes classical music, reading poetry (Pushkin) playing golf and dancing. Murray likes walking dog on Oakham common Surrey, watching F1, watching bond movies pilates and yoga……locked in a room for five minutes, no tennis talk, which one? Those continentals do go beyond the mundane. Andy the ordinary guy, is that the allure? Regarding the politics as he’s doing this for himself what’s nationality got to do with it. In all honesty with Kate’s baby, economy on the turn (so it is rumoured), warm weather and brit victory on centre court……..why would anybody vote no….there’ll always be a….what’s it called now?

  6. douglas clark says:

    Unbelievable, in the first three sets too!

  7. Doug Daniel says:

    “But in a mature rational de-nationed world we wouldn’t be cheering for Andy Murray over his opponent. Which is why I’m glad I don’t live in a mature rational world. On occasions like this I enjoy being irrational and emotional. I enjoy being Scottish.”

    I’ve never understood folk who don’t think like this. Surely we all grow up supporting Scotland in team sports? Therefore, it’s a natural extension to also support Scottish individuals in individual sports. My brother-in-law is a massive F1 fan and doesn’t see why nationality should have anything to do with which driver you support since they’re representing themselves rather than their country, but to me it’s totally natural to cheer for the guy that shares a background with you. It’s how we’re wired, and people on Twitter who piously go on about how they “hate all types of nationalism” and the like are kidding themselves if they think there’s anything inherently wrong with favouring the person you feel most affiliation with.

    It’s far preferable to being a glory-hunter anyway, and those who just plump for the one who already wins everything will never understand the joy of someone you’ve followed for years suddenly making it against the odds. That’s why I’ve always backed teams like Dortmund, Feyenoord and Newcastle instead of teams like Bayern Munich, Ajax and Manchester United.

  8. DesiMond says:

    Just yesterday I, a F! take-it-or-leave-it-guy, said “Oh great. the Scottish guy ( Paul Di Resta) is 9th overall, brilliant!”. It gives even the most awkward of Sports the edge they need sometimes

  9. Ray Bell says:

    Sad to see Brit establishment banging on about knighthoods.

    As a rugby fan, I get saddened by some of the folk running the game. They’re more interested in Princess Anne, the military and the Lions than increasing player numbers.

    Here’s a trivia question: who was the first Scot to win Wimbledon? (not Murray)
    ps One abiding Wimbledon memory for me is McEnroe, he used to put the wind up the officials.

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