I am resisting the temptation this week to comment on the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – other than to say I didn’t enjoy the early stage of the opening ceremony which I thought was bamboozling, embarrassing and pretty pathetic.
The good thing is that the Glasgow Games have gone well. The English competitors weren’t booed by patriotic Scots as some pundits and the odd politician had predicted – they were given a rousing reception as they entered Celtic Park and applauded when they won medals.
Competition has been keen and, on the whole, sportsmanship has been great. As I write, only one allegedly-positive dope test and a wee bit barging on the running track. Oh, and a weightlifter has courted trouble by apparently – allegedly – misbehaving in the toilet.
The baton carrying the Queen’s message safely made its way to Celtic Park – but nobody had told the dignitaries how to get the top off and it was left to that shining knight, Chris Hoy, to step forward and save the day. Queen Victoria might not have been amused, but Queen Liz took it all in her majestic stride and I’m sure there was a hint of a smile.
I smiled – actually, I laughed – when I spotted the pictures and story in one of the red tops about HM and one of her ladies-in-waiting turning up in almost identical dresses. I couldn’t quite fathom how the lady that dresses and chaperones the monarch failed to spot they looked like peas in a pod in their light-green outfits. I’m not sure if that was at the Games or some other royal outing, but since I’m resisting the temptation to mention the Games, it doesn’t really matter.
Now, what about the tartan for the Games. It attracted its fair share of criticism when it was unveiled – likened to a picnic rug or granny’s shawl.
It didn’t please me too much at the time, but I’ve come to like it. Its brightness fits in with the total atmosphere of the Games and looks far better that those dark, sombre suits worn by the officials – some of whom wouldn’t know a smile if it hit them in the face.
Contrast them with the competitors who show a wealth of emotions as they taste the joy of victory – and disappointment of defeat.
From bowling, to swimming, to athletics, to rugby, to table tennis, to wrestling, to any of the 17 sports at the Games, the competitors have been true ambassadors to their chosen volition and their country.
I have few mementoes to mark my unspectacular sporting career. A Brydon Cup sevens medal with Gala ‘A’ from a win against Gala YM that left me with a broken finger, a silver teaspoon and egg cup from a bowling victory at Gala Abbotsford, a photo of Sandy Grieve and myself when we won the Selkirk Open Bowling Pairs (against a Scottish internationalist and trialist) and another when Galashiels were finalists in the Borders BB Battalion rugby sevens. But there are many memories.
Winners from the Games will take home medals. But every competitor will take home the memories. You just need to look at the beaming face of Libby Clegg – the golden girl from Copshaw Holm – to see why memories will never fade.