Remember 2012? It was a good year.
For me, I had just finished school and got my first job, my sister had graduated and the terror of going into the big scary world was dulled for the time being. Oh and we also had the Olympics in London, in case you forgot…
I don’t live in London but on the weeks leading up to the opening ceremony I went for a visit and even though I didn’t go to any events I felt like part of it. The same was felt outside London. From Norwich to Crew, Gretna to the Gorbals. It just so happened I got to watch the opening ceremony in a London suburb (Just outside Penge East) where the local community gathered in a park, set up a barbecue and sat on the grass to watch it unfold on a big screen. The sun was setting and the world watched us, just being us. (Kenneth Branagh in a top hat and the Spice Girls)
That was a great feeling. We were proud of ourselves and pleased for each other. Athletes brought home medals to the nations. All-proud to be Northern Irish, Welsh, Scottish, English and British. We looked good… well G4S didn’t.
4 Years later. Here we are and one half of the nation dislikes the other and vice versa .We look like we’d rather close our door than welcome in, not just people but culture, kindness and potential. I don’t mean ‘Brexit’ which now seems like the punch line to an un-funny joke, whatever way someone voted doesn’t matter. It’s the current mood and I didn't know how to fix it.
Then Wimbledon started, it was on screens and in speakers everywhere and we all collectively said ‘Ohh yea, it's that time of year’. The penny dropped (About as far as it did on the morning of the 24th) We’re all gathering together, watching the best people in the world play tennis at a level the majority of us only reach when describing how good our game is to someone we’re trying to chat up and we love rooting for Andy or Gordon Reid or the underdog at their first grand slam. We get that feeling back for a bit.
We’ve all been so bombarded with news we’ve forgotten to be nice. Remember what it was like watching Andy win gold or Tom being over the moon for a bronze. We welcomed the world, gave them a pat on the back and said; ‘Right, what are you drinking?’ Let’s get back to that … the last thing we need is America making fun of us…