Last Sunday, I was lucky enough to go to Lords to watch a one-day international featuring England and Australia. The cricket wasn’t up to much to be honest, but Lords on a sunny day, packed to the rafters because the Australians are in town is a special place regardless of what actually happens in the game.
As the result drifted inexorably towards the Aussies, my attention wandered and I imagined how the place would look when it plays host to the Olympic archery events in 2012. I got a little shiver of excitement thinking about it.
The reality of what had happened in London the day after the Olympic announcement was never far away. When John and I got off the train in Paddington we asked a policeman for directions to Lords. He started to tell us which Tube we should get, but I interrupted him and told him that we wanted to walk. He gave us directions and we set off. I had an urge to rush back and tell him that we wanted to walk because it was a nice day and it wasn’t far, and not because we were scared to go on the Tube. As we walked to the ground past the high screens and floral tributes at Edgeware Road, I wondered if that was entirely true.
Once we’d picked up our tickets and made it to the ground, another reminder came in the form of a long queue as every bag was searched and every body patted down. By and large no one minded missing the opening few overs in the name of keeping safe, although one big-gobbed Cockney idiot felt the need to hassle the security staff about how long it was taking. That was irritating enough, but when his stage whisper could be heard throughout the minute’s silence that we all observed from outside the North Gate, I was surprised no one took a swing at him.
After the Olympic venue announcement I was very excited by it all. After Thursday’s bombings, that excitement disappeared in the face of such grim reality. But sitting there in the sunshine at Lords on Sunday imagining Olympic archers vying for medals in 2012 brought some of that excitement back again. I suppose in a way we owe it to those who died to carry on – to get excited by the trivialities of sport, to celebrate a society that allows us the freedom to pursue such trivialities, to take the Tube or a bus.
Just by Paddington station, there is a shop that I expect Lord Coe didn’t go out of his way to let the IOC visit when they came to London. I’m not quite sure it captures the ethos of the 2012 bid.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Posted by John McClure at 10:54 am