I was completely underwhelmed by the build up to the Olympics. I thought some of the Opening Ceremony was bonkers and a waste of money. I’m really not that bothered how many medals we win. But the Olympic stadium is no distance away so how could I miss the chance to go along.
On the sporting front, we’re a hockey family – that is, we’ve all played (my younger son is so keen that he’s working in a meat packing factory in New Zealand so he can play a season of hockey there and then return to England to play our season) – so that was the sport to watch.
Getting into the Olympic Park was easy with fast and efficient security screening by the Armed Forces and volunteer “Games Makers” cajoling and encouraging the crowds to keep moving. We wandered through the park, admired the flowers, ate lunch and took our places for the first game. After five minutes the little girl behind asked her mother how much longer she had to sit and watch. Then she asked if this was hockey she was watching. Then she declared it would be much better if they could kick or throw the ball. She said she was bored. She was really bored. Could she start a Mexican wave? What did she have to do to start a Mexican wave? Will it be finished soon? How long? She counted to 30 so why hadn’t it finished? What’s the difference between seconds and minutes? Well, how many seconds did she have to count? The joy of taking children to something you want them to remember for the rest of their lives.
The stadium was packed for the GB game and the noise was deafening by the time play started. We clapped and cheered. We groaned with disappointment and whooped with delight. If the game could have been won on support alone, we would have won hands down, but after much excitement GB and South Africa drew the match.
We had a good day out and I’m glad we went, but I’m still not convinced by the whole Olympics deal with professional athletes, excessive costs and luxury hotels for Olympic officials. I’d far rather some of the money was used to enable everybody to take part in sport, providing good facilities and coaching nationwide. And let’s drop tennis and football and introduce rugby 7s and netball please.