Mr B and I are watching Sports Personality of the Year. At least, Mr B is glued to the TV while I have one eye on the screen while my other eye concentrates on crafting today’s Daily Blog.
You may be wondering why I don’t fasten both eyes on my blogging, but I do need to keep in touch with the events unfolding before our very eyes (whether two eyes or one, you understand.) At Thursday’s
Sporting Memories meeting, I gathered opinions on who would lift the Glitter Ball Trophy. Oh, sorry, wrong TV show - but I’m sure you know what I mean. It was interesting that there was no consensus of opinion on who might be the worthiest winner. Mr
B favours Adam Peaty, Tim (our leader) wants Tom Daley to be recognised, others say it is bound to be Emma Raducanu. This leads to an interesting, if inconclusive, discussion about whether it is sporting success or personality which counts in the end. What
does “personality” mean in any case? somebody asks. Nobody ventures an answer - though this is probably because it’s time for refreshments and Tim has produced a packet of digestives from his rucksack, while we all head to the bar to place
our requests for coffee, tea and / or hot chocolate.
Just as every member has a different view on who the winner of SPOTY should be (I’m sure you are impressed
by my control of the acronym) so they support a variety of different football teams. Mr B is not the only Spurs supporter, there is a great deal of friendly rivalry among the Sporting Memories gang. Only one football team - and one team only - unites them.
That team goes by the name of The Mighty Lions, aka the under 9s of Hook United FC….
It dates back to the start of the season when the Middle of the Darling
Daughters, mother of Faris the Rascal (who happens to be one of the stalwarts of the Mighty Lions) began writing match reports after each game for the players and their “super-positive” parents and coaches. The emphasis is on sporting play, teamwork,
respect - both for each other and the opposition - and determination. Our Sporting Memories gang often despair of some of the less edifying aspects of sport today, so one Thursday morning I read them one of my daughter’s match reports as a kind of antidote
I didn’t know what I had started. Every week I have to read the report from the latest match. The Sporting Memories Gang are, as
one, passionate supporters of The Mighty Lions. Every success is celebrated, every loss (not too many of them, to be fair) is met with sincere commiserations. When our grandson wins the Man of the Match Award, well, they are all as proud as punch. You’d
almost think Faris the Rascal was everyone’s grandson.
There is always a theme to the weekly match report. In the week of Remembrance Day in November, my
daughter paid tribute to Sporting Memories and the power that a love of sport wields in the hearts and minds of so many. Especially those like Mr B whose own playing days may be over but who remains very much “on the pitch” in his mind’s
eye. There is always a particular mention for the volunteer coaches who train the young players, trying to instil in them a love of the Beautiful Game - Mr B was once one of those coaches, now Our Boy has taken up the mantle. It’s unlikely that any of
the youngsters who turn out every weekend for their team will become the next Marcus Rashford - but if they grow up to have all the enjoyment of supporting “their” team, then they will have a lifetime of sporting memories to look back on when they
reach a Great Age.
Last weekend was a local derby between two Hook United under 9’s teams. Sporting Memories has broken up for Christmas but I have had to
promise to report back when we meet again. I know everyone will be disappointed that the Mighty Lions lost 2-1 in a close fought game though the fact that Faris (thou shalt not pass) Adli won the Man of the Match award once more for his fearless tackling will
be some compensation.
As his mother wrote, in another unforgettable match report: “A win, I guess, is a bonus - the icing on the cake - but witnessing
the rousing and customary three cheers at the end of the match and the applause and appreciation for both teams was a pleasure to see today. The Mighty Lions should not be disheartened. Today they were magnificent, playing with pride, respect, appreciation
and friendship. There are, after all, many ways to win!”
I can just hear our Sporting Memories gang applauding: “And so say all of us!”