Glasgow’s Games

By Mike Small

As a Commonwealth Cynic I have to admit to a certain pre-Games bah-humbag grumpiness, perhaps fuelled by the whiff of empire-past, the Jaconelli story, the Red Roads Flat debacle and a general default disdain for anything-that-is-not-football. But I’ve been completely blown away by the Glasgow Games. The heat helped, as did the amazing warmth of the Glasgow crowds, and did the exciting glimpse of what a more multicultural Scotland would like.I liked the pleasant slaying of various myths: we couldn’t compete, we couldn’t organise a major event, it would all go horribly wrong. And a bigger uglier myth was also laid to rest.I remember feeling jealous of the Irish in 2007 when they welcomed England to Croke Park for the very first time. The stadium was the site of ‘Bloody Sunday’, where Tipperary captain Michael Hogan and 13 others were killed during an atrocity committed at a Dublin v Tipperary match in 1920. All of the pre-match build-up was filled with dark talk about how it would all go down. In the end the Irish met the Queen and the English national anthem, God Save the Queen with dignity and applause. Here too the build-up had been dominated by idiotic voices warning that the English competitors would be booed at Hampden Park. Instead they were cheered to the rafters and all the daft talk from Unionists looked as stupid and desperate as it surely was.What an inspiration of young people with total dedication commitment and discipline. What an inspiration for Scotland to aspire to better health, better fitness, and to better access and participation in all sporting activities. Let the summer be a space for a real break from wall to wall football coverage from our broadcasters and let the true diversity of sports be shown.I’ll happily set-aside all indyref political grumbles to simply celebrate the determination and courage of all who took part.And we’ve done well. As Irvine Welsh tweeted in a burst of competitiveness: “Here’s medal table readjusted per head of population, @BBCSport 1. Sco -1 med per 102,000, 2. Aus -1 per 185,000, 3. Eng -1 per 378,000.”There’s more to prove than medals though. As we all know we’re not just on the podium but streaks ahead in childhood obesity, heart disease, type two diabetes, the lot. Food related ill-health? We’re world leaders. So there’s a lot of work to be done. We know that and one great games won’t fix it. All that said this is Bella’s roll-call of brilliant inspiring athletes and moments …

“Like  a Thunderstorm” Charlie Flynn
 
 
Our youngest ever winner: Erraid Davies

 

We also loved … [see all here]
Josh Taylor
Eilidh CHILD wins 400m hurdles silver
Alex MARSHALL and Paul FOSTER 
Lynsey Sharp
Reece McFADDEN [bronze] [52kg]
Neil FACHIE and (pilot) Craig MacLEAN [gold],  
Daniel KEATINGS [gold], [men’s pommel]; [silver] [all around] 
Daniel PURVIS [gold, parallel bars] & [bronze], [rings] 
Euan BURTON [gold], [-100kg] 
Hannah MILEY [gold], [400m individual medley] + [bronze] [200m individual medley] 
Ross MURDOCH [gold], [200m breaststroke]; [bronze], [100m breaststroke] 
Dan WALLACE [gold], [400m individual medley] + [silver], [200m individual medley] 
Michael JAMIESON [silver], [200m breaststroke]
Who inspired you and how can we take the spirit of positivity and aspiration forward?


Categories: Commentary, Identity

Tags: ,

17 replies

  1. My best memory was watching Samantha Kinghorn in the T54 1500m. Just 18, and finished a credible fifth, she can only get better. Her story of recovery from an injury when she was 14 is remarkable. Her back was broken when snow from a farm building roof fell on her. Since then she has never stopped pushing herself. She’s an inspiration.

  2. Aye Mike couldn’t have said it better myself. Just a pity that the ‘Bittertogether Broadcasting Corpn’ had to spoil it by butting in and taking over the show.

    Auld Rock

    • Unsuccessfully so, in my opinion. all they did was piss a few folk off.

      • I suspect it was more that a few ! Talking to family and friends, thousands must have complained about the BBC London takeover of Pacific Quay, with Scots-based commentators, pundits, and presenters being effectively told they weren’t ‘good enough for a national audience.
        Then – on Day Nine, we suddenly heard more Scot’s voices. Even (Shock horror !!) in the studio !!
        Was that in response to complaints – both official and on social media – or on various ‘phone in’ programmes ?
        Or was it psychology, with the Beeb thinking we’d all remember the last two days and forget about the previous nine ?

        I think the Rugby 7’s commentary summed it up. Scott Hastings is freelance, and usually commentates (very, very badly) for Sky Sports. Yet he was the ‘Scottish voice’ we all heard. He’s also a hardcore, and very uninformed unionist.
        Where was one of the best rugby commentators on the planet – Bill Johnstone ? Where was Peter Wright ?
        Not good enough ?
        Or something else ?

        I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in the most frequented Pacific Quay watering hole when the BBC Scotland sports department discovered what they’d be doing during the Games.

  3. Let’s keep Hampden as an athletics stadium and get SFA and Scottish Rugby to share Murray field, then we can have similar events. It was BRILLIANT.

  4. Linsey sharp, the cheers for all the home nations, the former couch potato from England who gave up beer and fags a few years ago and came 10th in the marathon at the age of 40.
    Usain bolt dancing to the proclaimers.

  5. Very difficult to choose one, and I didn’t watch much more than a few highlights. I stopped buying a TV licence several years ago, so miss out sometimes but happily missed out on the BBC’s Rule Britannia Show.

    Lynsey Sharp & Charlie Flynn for sure. Erraid Davies too.

    I went to an athletics session at the 1970 Games (where are you now, Jo Timms?) and whilst I didn’t see them run, McCafferty, Lachie Stewart & Ian Stewart were inspirational back then. They would be proud of the current crop.

  6. My top Games moments:

    1. “Tattie” Marshall’s GIRFUY gesture to the English fan who heckled him as he prepeared to deliver that wonderful match-winning bowl in the Pairs semi-final. Well, he had just beaten England, some things you’ve gotta do.

    2. The precision with which Bob Love, the arm-less England Triples bowler delivered his bowls with his left foot. I haven’t seen such exquisite left-footed passing since Jim Baxter was in his pomp.

    3. The sheer guts of Lynsey Sharp; after what that girl and her family have been through, she maybe deserved a gold, but, she came up against a truly world-class winner.

    4. The dignity in defeat of David Rudisha – another class act.

    5. The Usain Bolt cameo – he came, he saw, he entertained – he won.

    6. Steve Wayk, the 40-year-old English marathon runner – inspiring.

    7. Jo Pavey, the 40-year-old English 5000-metres medallist – a mother-of-two, inspiring.

    8. Nicola Beneditti playing Loch Lomond at the opening.

    9. The look on Ross Murdoch’s face when he won.

    10. When the black South African player scored the final try in the Sevens. A black guy, wearing green, white and gold, scores at Ibrox, crosses himself and gets a standing ovation. Maybe we are growing-up in Scotland

    11. That last one was a small joke – Daniel Wallace and FOR FREEDOM!!!

    12. The Herald Diary item, about the guy in the pub who said: Scotland’s first two gold medals were won for fighting – by sisters from Coatbridge – priceless.

  7. Good list. Ross Murdoch’s face was a treat.

  8. Well, the Commonwealth Games are almost over; what a wonderful success Glasgow has made of them! And well done to the YES campaign for ensuring they kept free of active campaigning at the Games – more than can be said for the BT/No Thanks group who were pushing their leaflets at most of the venues; and were they responsible for the strange mongrel union/saltire flags being distributed free at venues?
    Also, congratulations to Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, who has conducted himself with perfect decorum throughout the period of the Games, despite the jibes and vitriolic goadings coming from various members of the unionist side – particularly the thoroughly unpleasant and nasty attempts from that head unionist blogger Ian Smart of Scottish Labour.
    So perhaps this is a good time to quote from the speech delivered by Alex Salmond in New York earlier this year:
    “We seek a Scotland where sustainable prosperity goes hand in hand with solidarity and fairness.
    We seek a Scotland which makes a positive contribution to the world, as an equal partner in the family of nations;
    We seek a Scotland whose importance is judged on its usefulness to the rest of humanity, not on fading imperial grandeur;
    We seek a Scotland which applies its ingenuity to mitigating and addressing the great environmental challenges of the world;
    We seek a Scotland known for helping others as well as promoting itself;
    We seek a Scotland guided by enlightened self-interest – in how we run our country, and how our country relates to the rest of the world.
    Independence doesn’t guarantee that we will become that Scotland we seek. But it gives us the powers we need, in order to do so. It places decisions about Scotland’s contribution to the world in the hands of the people who live and work in Scotland. It gives us the power to act for the common weal. And that in itself is a song well worthy of the singing.”

    • If some politician from England were to use Wee Eck’s speech, but with the word “England” to replace “Scotland”, it would be pretty much what I’d want England to be. I’m not holding my breath waiting for such a speech, though.

      On the subject of the Games, I just got the impression that everybody was enjoying themselves. I’d love to see Glasgow get the Games again one day.

  9. So…all you arrogant eejits who dissed the brilliant efforts of our wee country…stick that in your gob and sook it!

  10. ‘a general default disdain for anything-that-is-not-football.’

    Back down to earth with a bump. Rangers fan yesterday waving the flag of Israel at a game.

    After the positivity of the games, the smiles on faces of competitors and crowds alike, the autographs, the selfies and everything else that went into creating the community spirit that was really only spoiled by the shoddy BBC coverage of the athletics, it’s a fucking travesty to think the season of bigotry, hatred, diving, name calling, abuse and daily old firm coverage on the news is coming back.

    Bloody depressing.

  11. Aye the problem with bigots(Rangers fans).They don’t understand why Palestine is at war with Israel.How could you explain to these eejits the complexity and underhandedness of what the US and Britain have been doing.I believe Britain is still trading arms with Israel.Mind you we shouldn’t really be surprised at British Rangers bigots celebrating oppression they have form on that one.Utter trash that should be swept away.

  12. This is a great article from Mike IMO. I say that as a person so much in favour of the Commonwealth that I dream of a day when not only Scotland wants to be a member in its own right and as an Independent nation but also the likes of Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt and USA can bring themselves to share Commonwealth ideals. Mozambique has shown the way. Glasgow has certainly been flourishing over the last fortnight. May it long contnue to do so.

  13. A great pity about the unwarranted intervention by Macleod, the Times, “Man in Scotland”, there’s always one show-off in the class. Fortunately Usain was cheered to the rafters and the only casualty in the affair was Macleod himself!

  14. Excellent piece Mike. Honest. Good read. It was fairy tale stuff to see wee Erraid win her medal at 13 yrs old. Lyndsey Sharp’s medal was so so special given her illness and problems before hand. True grit and steel. Even England’s silver in the 100 metres was great to watch as the guy went mental with delight. BUT, the GB team is always London-centric and they control the purse strings and put the money where they want GB/English medals and we in SCotland get so little funding. If you are a top Scottish athlete you have to move south (unless in swimming). Great to hear Freedom Come all Ye at the opening ceremony and the twa Burns songs at the closing ceremony. Glasgow’s image is forever changed from the stereotypical image. Roll on Team Scotland in the Olympics and the rise in self-belief and self-confidence in all we do.

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