I'm well pleased to see that quite a few of you have been reading the "Olympics 2012 Heroes Board" page elsewhere on this website. However it has occurred to me that you might just appreciate a little bit of helpful
If you scroll down to the very first posting on the Olympics page, you will come across a photo of the Original Heroes Board. It is also pictured here, in case you don't have the
time or the inclination to track it down. Obviously I don't blame you if this is the case but similarly you can't really blame me for trying to increase the numbers of hits on my website - every little helps, as someone in a supermarket once said.
Anyway, the original Heroes Board dates back to the World Cup of 1990, a quite staggering 22 years ago. At that time I was living with two completely sports-mad alpha males, namely Mr B and the Son-And-Only.
In years past, when the Darling Daughters still lived at home, we always out-numbered the lads 4 - 2. Now I was getting a taste of my own medicine.
Faced with the prospect of four solid weeks
of football, I decided I had two choices. (Well, I suppose I had three - I could have left home but they might have enjoyed themselves far too much without me. It wasn't a risk I was prepared to take.) I could (i) decide to ignore it all, closet myself
away, read books, take walks, and pretend that England was not about to experience the agonies of Failing to Meet the Nation's Expectations all over again. Or I could (ii) choose to immerse myself completely in the Championship, follow every match,
cheer on our gallant men and all that. On the basis that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, that's precisely what I did.
Well, so fervent a supporter was I, that Mr B and the Son-and-Only very
nearly left home themselves in desperation. Mr B is on record as saying that I drove them both bonkers. So much, you are probably saying, for appreciating my efforts at family solidarity. Oh, boy, did I enter into the World Cup spirit.
I knew all the players' names. Indeed, I was wont to chant them during matches. I loved the names that rolled off the tongue - Italians were my particular favourite, each name sounding like a delicious brand of ice-cream. Plus there was
the illustrious Makanaki (from Cameroon, if I remember rightly). What a man! What a name! What a hero!
But I needed something more - which is when I hit upon the idea of ceating a Heroes Board.
And, just like today's Olympics Heroes Board, the idea was that this was not reserved for any old hero. Scoring - or saving - a goal was not necessarily enough. On the other hand sporting a superior moustache or a hairstyle of
heroic proportions might just get you onto the board.
Mr B despaired. He thought that I should reserve places on the Heroes Board for English players and completely failed to understand
why or how I could allow space for the like of the German captain, Matteus. But when I tell you that this was the man whose first action at the end of a successful penalty shoot-out, while his whole team was crowing with delight, was to extend a hand
of comfort to the poor guy on the other side who had failed to score - well you will understand, I feel, why the truly wonderful Matteus thoroughly deserved his place on the Heroes Board.
the likes of Gary Lineker and Gazza did make it on to the board. And if you look very closely at the photograph, you will even see that one English player sports a real-life bandage to celebrate his bravery in continuing to play despite injury.
I am nothing if not creative.
That was back in 1990. Twenty-two years on, my new-style Heroes Board owes its existence, not to a large piece of cardboard,
but to the world-wide-web. New technology, same basic principle. Heroes come in many shapes and sizes - but should always be celebrated.