Friday, 13 April 2007

Elderly relatives always said...'s not the winning that counts, it's the taking part. Even before the reinvention of the speak to the palm 'WHATEVER', that's what I was thinking whenever I heard that irritating cliche. I knew that they only said that cos I was utterly useless at sport stuff, I ran like a girl (pretty much a verbatim quote from my sister that one) and my jack of all trades approach to life left me out of running not only for bronze, silver and gold but even for the 'tried quite hard' ribbon. I represented my school once in cross country running[there must have been some mix up with names or something] and I came second to last just in front of the kid with the special shoe that made both his legs the same length (really). I'm sure no-one told Geoff Hurst after that hattrick that winning wasn't everything and that he should just feel happy to have taken part at the expense of the world's greatest striker and, frankly, he should be spending his time commiserating Germans and complimenting their leather shorts. No, they had no need to because it is the winning that is everything. At least that's what I thought...until last night. We drew on the night, we lost overall, Spurs are out of Europe but somehow it felt like we'd won because it wasn't only (eventually) the team that took part , it was the whole ground. My son said after the game that he'd enjoyed it more than the 5-1 over Charlton earlier in the season. The noise was deafening; we supported that bloody team so loudly I'm convinced it was the difference between the feeble first and gutsy second halves. We drove back to Yorkshire singing like we'd beaten the G*****s, won the Champions League FA Cup Premiership Grand National Monaco Grand Prix Combined Trophy for first rate chaps and discovered a cache of cakes and money under the car just before setting off. Taking part was everything. We were there. Of course if we lose to A*****L next week, my son will hear this elderly relative utter those words and I know what he'll be thinking: "Whatever, dad."

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