Unthinkable? Sport for the sake of it Editorial

3rd July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Andy Murray is British in victory and Scottish in defeat but it has ever been thus, if you have lived north of the borderAgonising over Andy Murray's identity rightly gets up the nose of the Scots he is British in victory and Scottish in defeat. But it has ever been thus, if you have lived north of the border. The English regularly confuse Englishness with Britishness as though the terms are interchangeable, and the same process of crashing the party next door happens in any competition whenever there is nothing English left to talk about. Thus the teams that remain in the World Cup are described by English commentators in terms of their Premier League players. But was English identity whatever that is packed up with the face paints and the crusader outfits when the team crashed out of the World Cup? Not really. It made the Football Association even more determined to keep an Italian manager. It is good when the national team wins, but does the letdown of defeat derail the nation? Both the disappointment of defeat and the exultation of victory are usually short-lived affairs. Unless, of course, you happen to be as silly as President Nicolas Sarkozy, who treated the debacle of the French exit as a national disgrace and tried to involve himself in the postmortem. The truth is that Murray's tennis career tells you a lot more about a boy's relationship with an ambitious mother than it does about being Scottish. And what exactly does Roger Federer tell you about the Swiss? All countries honour their sportsmen, but few actually think they speak through them. Which is good, because when it comes down to it, it is the game that matters.British identity and societyguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions More Feeds

0 Comments To This Article