Trouble at Mill

Alistair Brownlee with Yorkshire flagDespite its high ideals, the quadrennial bout of patriotism that the Olympics engenders I find vaguely disturbing. And I confess that I’m as guilty as anyone else.

There we sit on our sofas cheering when one of our lads dives in a pool or kicks their someone round the head or paddles down artificial rapids, and cheer even louder if the opposition makes a pig’s ear of things.

We only do it because they happen to be part of Team GB, but let’s be honest, these are sports that we wouldn’t otherwise switch tv channels to watch – they’re only watchable now because there are gold, silver and bronze medals at stake.

As I said, like everyone else, I can’t help but take a degree of national pride when I see Team GB sitting second in the medals table and admire the skill and endurance of the athletes involved.

But I do take exception to patriotism when it degenerates into parochialism as we saw when Alistair Brownlee waved the Yorkshire flag along with the Union Flag after winning the men’s triathlon and the inevitable crowing about how that country heads this or that country on the medals table. It’s not something other countries do, I mean, ask yourself, when did you see a US winner waving their state flag?

It began as a tongue in cheek observation during the 2012 London Games, but seems to have carried over to Rio for no obvious reason. If we start breaking down the medal tally by inner homeland geography, where will it end? For example, I could argue that 23 of Team GB’s medal have been won by athletes who are from, live or train in Manchester. But I won’t.

However, I can already hear the gnashing of Yorkist teeth at the announcement that the great national welcome home party will be held where it truly belongs – to the west of the Pennines!

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

5 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 20th August 2016

    Jealousy is a rather base human trait in my view. Personally, I was extremely proud to see Alistair Brownlee holding the Yorkshire flag aloft and as I write this comment I have just watched Nicola Adams claim another golden medal for Yorkshire (and Great Britain). YORKSHIRE! YORKSHIRE! YORKSHIRE!

    • Mr Parrot 21st August 2016

      That comment rather proves my point – that you claim it as a Yorkshire triumph before GB. Not something I would have done for Jason Kenny et al.

  • Trevor Rowley 20th August 2016

    Are any of us really interested when Castillians, Basques or whatever, start to wave their flags about with such fervour? No, of course we aren’t, so how can we expect them to be remotely interested in home rule for Cornwall, The Sons of Glendower or some shadowy outfit from t’other side of Liverpool Bay? It is all rather silly, isn’t it. I will, however, enjoy a brew at about 1-30 am, when I watch Mo Farah do his stuff for GB.

    • Mr Parrot 21st August 2016

      I watched Mo on the repeat and he’s another example to prove my point. He’s a Muslim (I assume) and from down south judging by his accent, but neither are relevant or important – he is Team GB. Had he been from Bradford or Huddersfield then we’d never hear the end of it from YP!

  • Trevor Rowley 24th August 2016

    I wonder how many of you saw the clip of film/video of the GB team arriiving back at Heathrow. More particularly, did you see the female athletes singing the national anthem when still onboard the plane? Sadly, they got the words wrong – they sang four “our Queen” instead of two “our Queen” and two “the Queen.” However, they are in good company as Sir Tom Jones made the same mistake when singing the national anthem before the Ricky Hatton v Mayweather fight about four or five years back. Just check it out.


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