PG’s Tips for Survival at the RHN

 

SIDNEY REMEMBERS THAT “England Expects …”

 

    As Sidney was reflecting on the surfeit of sport, with the World Cup and Wimbledon dominant, he was aware of the pressure on the English /British sportsmen.

 
   In the Battle of Trafalgar, it was Nelson who ordered the message ‘England expects that every man will do his duty’.

    It seems no longer good enough to say ‘It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game’. Instead we say ‘Winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing!’ The first is seen as very English and somewhat defeatist, but the last is regarded as brash business-like talk. There is, of course, a drunken spiritualist (‘happy medium’). This in-between line is achieved by only a handful of ‘athletes’ who are a pleasure to watch and have a pleasant personality.


    While we were witnessing the world against itself in sport, there was also the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. In the incomparable carnage that took place on the first day, there were 20,000 British soldiers killed. There followed an incredible death toll, resulting in 420,000 British, 195,000 French and 650,000 Germans casualties. The battle lasted over four months and only 5 miles were gained.


    Put against those horrific facts, our own lives are nothing in comparison. The ‘battles’ on the pitch or court are insignificant in contrast with the stark reality of true warfare.  


Written by Peter Gow

July 2006


 

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