Ever since the summer of 2005, the English Isles have been looking for a reason to go berserk over sports once again. That fabled June, the English cricket team accomplished one of the greatest feats the game of cricket had ever seen – dismantling a full-strength Australia. For the first time, children were seen adorning the ‘Flintoff’ jersey more than a ‘Beckham’ and the English chants began to roar. English, mind you.
That summer England welcomed players lost to international boundaries into their squads, television sets and victory celebrations with open arms. Cricketing prodigy Kevin Pietersen and some Andrew Strauss were South African’s they said. ‘Not from their mother’s side’, echoed London. Simon Jones was Welsh. ‘Isn’t that England too?’ claimed the optimist. Come 2013, England are having their moment on top of the sporting pinnacle. But how much of English is there?
First off, Britain was dancing to the merry chants of the British and Irish Lions squad wreaking havoc in Sydney with their splendid win over Australia in the recently concluded rugby test series. In their 37-man squad, only 10 were Englishmen. The Lions were led by a Welshman in Sam Warburton. The jubilation across the Iles belonged to London. For the people in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Dublin this victory was a cruel reminded of how the English monarchy still refused to identify their demands for sovereignty. However, the modern-day sports blogger will boast on how the Lions brought a much needed unity in the region. (Perhaps, some members of the British Parliament should encourage the IRA to read more of those posts.)
Last week, Scot Andy Murray (patronised as Britain’s saviour), lifted the coveted trophy in South-West London, emulating Fred Perry’s conquest in 1936. So moved was the crowd at Wimbledon, that the banners proudly fluttered ‘Sir(?) Andy Murray, Thank you.’ In the midst of it all, Virginia Wade was forgotten. Many of the headlines around the world have blared out sentiments like “Andy Murray wins Wimbledon, ends 77-year British drought” and “Inspired Murray ends 77 years of British hurt.” However, let’s not forget that 2013 may mark the first time a British ‘man’ has won in 77 years, but the last time a Brit won a singles title at their home Grand Slam tournament was actually just 36 years ago. In 1977, the popular Englishwoman Virginia Wade finally put a crucial win at the end of a frustrating “try-try-again” story even longer than Andy Murray’s. Yet, even the Queen must have forgotten that she presented the trophy to Wade, or else David Cameron wouldn’t have streamed his tears on Twitter, apparently in awe of Murray.
Britain still has a lot to celebrate for. Whether it is South-African born Chris Fromme leading the centennial Tour de France, or the long awaited return of ‘England’s best batsman’ in Natal-born and raised KP, the English chants of ‘Come on!’ will surely be heard all around. England without doubt has one of the best sporting crowds who view every game with the same zeal and passion as they do the last one.
Whether it’s Murray, Fromme, Pieterson or even Rory McIlroy, everyone in Abbey Road to Buckingham Palace will say that all of them are well and truly British, and ever so proud to be one. This Kingdom is definitely ‘United’ and it is the common sports-lover who can be held responsible for it.