Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ball Games

In yesterday's Scottish Review Kenneth Roy was scathing about the 'amorphous mass adulation of Olympic medal winners' and described it as an increasingly odd phenomenon, yet he insists the hero worship given to Jock Stein is perfectly normal human behaviour. Football managers Willie Waddell and Jock Stein are still regarded with affection, even reverence he write yet his article suggests no Olympic medalist is worthy of such adulation.

His taxi driver's loyalties to the Celtic team derived from its belonging to a small, identifiable community and that's exactly why the wee town of Dunblane more than doubled its population on Sunday - to congratulate one of their own back to his home town.  The Murray family are well known in the town and the rise of Jamie and Andy to the top of tennis has been followed closely by that close knit community for years.  Mr Roy's dislike of such occasions smacks more of bah humbug than congratulations.

I have vague memories back in the 50s when Dick McTaggart returned to Dundee after winning gold, as a light welterweight, at the 1956 Olympics.  He toured Dundee in an open-topped bus or tram. (Unfortunately my memory isn't too accurate about the mode of transport). Half of Dundee turned out to shout their congratulations to 'one of our ain'. I didn't go to see him then.  He lived down the road from us and was a friend of my brother so I had a private viewing of his medal, courtesy of his Mum who proudly showed it off to anyone who frequented her crowded home.

Some years later Dundee council built a sports centre to honour his achievements and it still exists today.  Dundee council have refurbished it - using a £1.8m lottery grant - and it is now to be a centre of gymnastic excellence in Tayside and Fife.  It provides for gymnasts at every level as well as offering a range of other activities.

After his five hour visit to Dunblane on Sunday, Andy Murray and his mother had a meeting with Alex Salmond to discuss a national tennis academy for Scotland.  The Herald have reported they are keen on a site in Cramond, Edinburgh for the academy and Mr Salmond stated their idea ' is in line with the Scottish Government's ambition to improve young Scots participation in sport'.

Since the SNP came to government in 2007 there have been mutterings about a national tennis centre but no action.

Tennis is not even included in the list of sports involved in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.  Why not?

The time has come for the Scottish Government to mark the incredible achievements of Andy Murray and a national tennis centre would fit the bill perfectly.  I still think it should be situated in Stirling though because so much is centred around Edinburgh and Glasgow.

If the then Labour-controlled Dundee council could provide first class gym facilities for youngsters in the early 1960s and the present Scottish Government build a velodrome named after Chris Hoy and his cycling success,  surely it can fund a national tennis centre before the independence referendum.

It would be a fitting long-term legacy of Andy Murray's fantastic achievements.

Note: The image was taken from a link on Judy Murray's twitter page.


RMcGeddon said...

Andy Murray and Chris Hoy aside, was Mr Roy not just wondering why people worship sportsmen that they've never heard of and wouldn't recognise if they fell over them in the street ?
Compared to the olden days when we followed sportsmen from their early careers through to their glory years. In football or in other sports.
The tv culture has hyped people to stupid levels. Rushing out to see a stick with a flame at the end. What's that all about ?

pa_broon74 said...

I think the whole olympic experience has left a lot of people jaded. (I think Kenneth was probably jaded already.)

In terms of Murray, his grand slam win has been completely over shadowed by it.

At any other time, so much more would have been made of it (we know how keen 'team GB' are in bigging up any success that can be attributed to itself.) I'm a moderately observant person, I didn't even know Murray was playing in the US.

Murray going back to his home town and a tennis academy (in Stirling or there abouts) seems a fairly measured reaction, the endless parades and open top bus rides after the olympics just reminds me of when Diana shuffled off.

On the upside, the olympics will give the Daily Express something else to bang on about other than Diana and her never-ending, all-encompassing and unignorable memory.

Brian said...

Tennis is an optional sport that debuted in the 2010 Delhi Games. Who else remembers Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae's Mixed Doubles Gold (for Scotland)?

Blame the lack of tennis on the Glasgow organisers as the host city picks which seven optional sports are played in addition to the ten core sports

JimS said...

Off topic but it looks like Eric Pickles might be about to replace EU Region UKM with Scotland!

subrosa said...

I don't think so RM as he specifically mentioned 'whacking balls harder'. I can only think of one Olympic sport in which that applies.

Otherwise I agree with you. I've followed Andy Murray's progress for years and although I don't know him at all, I think he talent is superb. That doesn't make me a stooge does it?

subrosa said...

You're obviously not a tennis fan pa_broon. :) I knew the US Open was one of Andy Murray's favourite venues and when he was playing.

Have to agree that the endless open-topped bus parades are overplayed. I can see the next time Edinburgh wants their own to parade, then they'll arrange something like the walkabout Andy Murray insisted upon last Sunday. It was personal to both fans and himself.

subrosa said...

Yes Brian and with not having them in 2014 these two won't be able to protect their title.

subrosa said...

Mmm food for thought Jim. Thanks for that link.

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