It’s been a long hard slog, but light has at last appeared at the end of the dark tunnel of endless Olympic media coverage, or maybe we should not celebrate too soon as that light might well be a broadcaster with a lamp bringing us the first wave of post-Games scandal.
Having said that, even an old curmudgeon like me cannot take away any part of the success of so many athletes who largely did a good job, not just for their country, but for their own ambitions. And a respectful sympathy must be extended to those who took part, but did not hit the big time.
The best example of this can be seen in the marathon where a fair number of entrants slogged away over an incredible distance. For most of them the dust kicked up by the leaders and eventual winners had long settled by the time the finishing line came into their view. In any race some poor soul has to be last and it is the sad worth of the gabbling commentators and other pundits that these gallant folk are so callously ignored.
It seems the Olympics are only about winners, not also-rans.
But we must move on, get through the Olympian aftermath, learn what lessons we need for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and pin our hopes to the ideal of getting through them without having to seek financial rescue from any of the few Robert Maxwell-like figures still lurking in Scottish business circles.
Scotland has a lamentable record of delayed delivery and overspends when it comes to large public projects – witness the building of the Scottish Parliament, the Edinburgh tram fiasco and, to a lesser degree, the Borders railway job.
Few could ignore the fact that a certain political referendum is also due around the same time, so expect the Commonwealth Games to be much more politicised than the Olympics, with daily words of bogus wisdom from that man and dreadful pictures of his coupon everywhere.
As in the case of the earlier tunnel and light analogy, we can sustain ourselves with the tempting thought of the whole referendum issue fizzling out before the projected date (if one exists) as soon as our current Scottish Government fouls up in a big way.
So far, the main post-Olympics issue has been the so-called legacy.
Already Peter Wishart of the SNP has gone public with a demand for Scotland’s cut of the takings, claiming that on a head-count basis we are due a tidy wedge of dosh. It might have been prudent of Mr Wishart to keep his peace for the time being as the sums have yet to be done, and if as seems the case the London Olympics are found to have racked up a whacking great debt, his argument could be turned round and the Scots could be asked to cough up their share of repayment.
Far more importantly, the main aspect of the Olympic legacy is improving sport and activity levels for the future. Just as water does not flow uphill, in the UK public money rarely flows northwards.
Naturally, the focus falls mainly on the youth of our nation, which is a very big mistake.
Given the nature of the principal sponsors of the Games it does not take a genius to work out little will be done to wean kids away from attractively-advertised garbage loosely categorised as fast food and pop.
The Olympic legacy should be divvied up across the entire spectrum of UK society in a fair way – after all, it is surely just as important to tackle all aspects of the food and exercise culture which produces so many of the elephantine guzzlers in the 20-40 year bracket as it is to curb the same tendencies among teenagers.
Speaking as one recently admitted to the elite brethren of the old-age pension, is it not also something of a priority to tackle issues concerning the elderly?
So many old people are denied recreational activity for reasons of access, assistance, lack of cash and motivation. In their case the lifestyle improvements they require are totally possible, cheap, and essential to maintain reasonable health levels and a degree of personal optimism that cannot be attained by vegetating in front of a screen churning out endless dollops of appalling daytime television programmes.
There are small signs this might well become the hot topic, as older people are the mainstay of election voting and should not be taken lightly by the hopefuls.
In Selkirk we can take great pride in our activities record. Perusing the back section of The Wee Paper any Friday brings news of a wide range of sporting activities in which all age groups are included. If further proof is required, it is unusual to drive along country roads without encountering hikers, dog walkers, pram pushers et al, and their numbers are steadily increasing year on year, but we must find ways to get the message to those who fall through the net.
Their numbers also increase on an annual basis, and here’s a clue why this is the case. Fifty years ago most of the employment in the Borders involved some amount of physical activity. For example, in a textile mill, formerly Selkirk’s employment mainstay, putting in a shift was typically hard graft and at lousing time your body would tell you in no uncertain terms how tough it had been.
OK then, that’s the Olympics put to rights for another few years, but we cannot depart the subject without one final point.
That point we address to Mr Mitt Romney of the USA. He’s the somewhat lugubrious guy who hopes to evict that nice Mr Obama from the White House during the back end of this year. In the run-up to the Games Mr Romney aired his opinion (and several more) that London was not ready for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Well Mitt, old son, you were dead wrong there weren’t you? And while we are on the subject, there are plenty of people around here who think you are not ready for the White House – and never will be!
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Weather for Selkirk
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 7 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North