I am rejoicing.
It is quite a strange feeling for me, but British sport seems to have developed a backbone and started to win stuff. Following on from the successful Olympics last year the British and Irish (though mainly Welsh) Lions beat Australia in the rugby earlier in the summer.
Justin Rose won the first golf major by an Englishman in 17 years at the USPGA and Andy Murray, a Scot, became the first British man since the 1930’s to win Wimbledon.
For me, though, the highlight is cricket. I was brought up on terrible English cricket teams, constantly getting drubbed by the West Indies and then Australia, and to be honest practically everyone that was put in front of us. No matter what the score, an English collapse was never too far away.
Then in 2005 the unthinkable happened and England beat Australia in one of the greatest Ashes series ever.
This year’s Ashes has quite lived up to the vintage of 2005, but it has still been exciting and, more importantly for me, England are now 3-0 up with 1 more to play. It means England have won the last 3 Ashes series and 4 out of the last 5. Oh happy days.
It’s a Dad’s Game
The undoubted man of the series so far has been Ian Bell. He has always had the class but his temperament had been more questionable. It seemed that he flattered to deceive, only ever scoring runs when his team mates had done all the hard work. This time it has been different. This time he has been the man to get England out of a series of holes. He has been the leading run scorer in often difficult situations.
Many commentators have asked what has happened to Ian Bell to make him more steely. One answer that I have seen a number of times is the fact that last year he became a father and this has given him a different outlook on life. Whether this is true or not we will have to wait for his autobiography to find out, but I found it intriguing to think about how becoming a dad can change your outlook on life. I know it has changed mine and will be writing about this in future blogs.
There has been news and lots of talk recently about men taking paternity leave to be prest at the birth of their children and to be a apart of those all important first few weeks. It must be admitted, though, that it is relatively easy to be father in professional sport. Whether it is fair or not, it is accepted than some men will be sportsmen and must be away from their homes in order to achieve their potential. I read yesterday how Mo Farah, the long distance runner, is almost a stranger to his young twin daughters because of his commitment to his sport. This has largely been accepted as a price that has to be paid in order to be the best of the best.
Not Really a Mum’s Game
It must be far more difficult to be a mother when the sport you play is amateur and you have to juggle so many different responsibilities. Women’s cricket has practically no money whatsoever so to play at the highest level means a far greater level of commitment that in the men’s game. My utmost respect, therefore, goes out to Sarah Elliot who plays cricket for the Australia women’s team. She had her first daughter 9 months ago and on 12th August, in her first test match since becoming a mum, scored a century that has put Australia in a dominant position against England.
Whenever one of the few journalists who is covering the game has mentioned this feat by Sarah they have made sure to also mention the fact that she is a new mum.
So perhaps the world hasn’t changed all that much. Women still find it harder than men to compete and England (women) are still losing to Australia.
And of course our football team continues to be crap!
- England Women’s Cricket vs. Australia: Tight Ashes Series Anticipated (bleacherreport.com)
- Ian Bell’s ‘enjoyable’ third century equals David Gower’s Ashes record (theguardian.com)