Monday, December 18, 2006

Ironic Cricket

As the English cricketers once again succumb in Australia, my anguished brother emails me from Spain: 'Why do English teams and sportsmen only win things once and then collapse?' He was at Wembley in 1966 and his life has been downhill ever since. Well, I've posted on the appalling England football team before. Their problem is they are celebrities, not sportsmen. But there does seem to be this wider issue of our habitual, languid, post-victory swoon into mediocrity if not downright ineptitude. Overcome with the effort and unexpectedness of our odd triumphs, we crumple on to the library chaise-longue and consume beef tea, arrowroot biscuits and, as our strength returns, the odd cucumber sandwich, until, decades later, we feel fully restored. Perhaps only Steve Redgrave, with gold medals in five consecutive Olympics, has truly resisted the temptation to swoon. Irony may be the problem; after all, it's just so unfunny to keep winning. Irony was certainly behind the award of BBC Sports Personality of the Year to a large bottomed royal who, I gather, rides horses


  1. One of the reasons is that as soon as they win something -anything- they are mades lords or knights or other silly things like that. They also all seem to get stress related illnesses,strain something or become male models and never play again. It seems to be part of the culture to rest on our laurels and watch the world run, shoot or bat past us.

    This is my world ranking:

    Truly Greats

    Brazil football, Italy football, Germany football, Real Madrid, Milan,Schumacher, Australia cricket, West Indies cricket, New Zealand rugby, Federer, Laver ,Pele. Maradona, Cruyff ,Gasol, Di Stefano. M.Jordan

    Nearly Great

    Liverpool, Argentina, Alonso, Best, Charlton, Zidane, Barcelona


    Manchester United

    One timers

    England cricket team, England rugby team, England football team, English tennis


    Henman, Scotland at all sports except curling and throwing trees

  2. I find your insulting comment about Zara Phillips redolent of a childish desire to shock. Please leave this kind of thing to the Guardianistas in future it is, after all, their trademark and probably copyright.

  3. Anon, you are quite right. I apologise.

  4. What about me? Big deal if she is a large bottomed royal who rides horses. I'm the one who should be granted the apology.

  5. A Large Bottomed RoyalDecember 18, 2006 7:43 pm

    This is an outrage. I wonder if she were one of the common sort, would you have referred to her as a large bottomed commoner?

  6. Aw, please don't apologise. I thought you were right the first time round - the personality of the year was clearly the horse.

  7. Don't worry, Anon, the apology was ironic. Mrs Midge, you are right. But I am unclear about the status of your bottom in this matter.

  8. My bottom is in perfect proportion to the rest of me.

  9. I have to agree with Anonymous. Class warfare is all well and good but manners is manners.
    And regarding the Ashes, how in hell did they pick Giles ahead of Panesar. And as for that Geraint Jones....

  10. It is a shame that Bryan made a silly remark about the Royal, since she seemed to accept the award with good, modest grace. However, the broader point of Bryan's article is correct.

    If one looks at those sportsmen and women who have sustained excellence over a period, certain names spring to my mind:

    Pete Sampras (tennis); Bjorn Borg (tennis); Don Bradman (cricket); Shane Warne (cricket); Len Hutton (cricket); Vivian Richards (cricket); Malcolm Marshall (cricket); Jack Nicklaus (golf); Tiger Woods (golf); Fangio (F1); Michael Schumacher (F1); Jim Clark (F1); Pele (football); Di Stefano (football); Bobby Charlton (football); Liverpool FC in the 70s and early 80s (football); Manchester United in the pre-Munich 50s (football); Manchester United in the 60s and 90s (ditto); Spurs in the early 60s; Lester Piggott (horse racing); Steve Hendry (snooker); Michael Jordan (basketball); Franz Klammer (downhill skiing); Carl Lewis (athletics).

    okay, I think that is enough!

  11. Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels volleyball)