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Charlotte Lytton

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The Rise and Fall of Part-Time Patriotism

Posted: 29/06/2012 12:42

As an August-born baby, summer has always been my favourite time of year. But all the season's had to show for itself thus far is soggy weather, a bunch of tax dodging celebs and as usual, the part time patriotism that comes to light during sports tournaments. Yes, as if the Jubilee didn't send us into enough of a bunting induced tizz, the Euro has been on hand to satisfy all our flag waving needs. And now that the England team is out of the contest? We have Andy Murray, a man who has come under criticism in the past for allegedly expressing anti-English sentiments, to pin our hopes of Great British glory upon.

Indeed, it's that time of year again where people eat strawberries and pretend to give a shit about a man they forgot existed for the past eleven months. Where were his legions of fans when he got to the finals of the Dubai Open? Who was cheering him on in the quarterfinals of the French Open? I'd hazard a guess that it wasn't very many of us. I suppose there's nothing wrong with backing the home favourite if you actually take an interest in that sport in the first place, but what I can't get my head around is people suddenly caring about something purely because it proffers the chance of a Brit actually winning something. If you ask me, the nation never got over England getting pwned by the Frenchies at the Battle of Hastings and have been desperately scratching around for victory ever since. IT WAS IN 1066, PEOPLE. Time to let it go.

There seems to be something about sport that brings out the worst in its fans, many of whom have earned our fair isles a bad rep for hooliganism, and nurtures an unhealthy obsession with 'our boys bringing [insert sporting competition name here] home.' There is also the unfortunate attitude towards those of us who haven't decked all our worldly possessions with EDL-esque memorabilia, which apparently translates as being 'anti-British.' I mean, really? I wouldn't say I'm particularly patriotic, but not caring what happens to the English football team (unless they choose to donate their frankly sickening salaries to charity) does not mean I hate the United Kingdom. It simply means that when these big sporting events roll around, I appreciate the same things I always do, and don't suddenly affect admiration for a bunch of jumped up 'athletes' who spend more time on the floor crying to the referee than playing the game people are supposed to be watching.

This part time patriotism is a decidedly fickle pastime, and in many ways, I feel sorry for the sportspeople lauded as heroes before they are cruelly erased from the public's consciousness upon defeat. I also question the apparent need to support people who have the same watered down nationality as us purely because we were both born somewhere between Land's End and John o' Groats. Shouldn't we back the people whose skills we actually admire, as opposed to those whose passports are the same colour as our own?

I genuinely wish Andy Murray the best of luck at Wimbledon, as I do all the competitors, because I take a passing interest in tennis and thus feel qualified to express some half-hearted sentiments about it. But to the legions of broken hearted fans wondering what to do with their flag festooned faces/cars/houses once the Jubilee/sports season is over, I suggest you take a long hard look at how ridiculous these fleeting pro UK infatuations are. Shred the bunting and move on - it's for the common good, and surely any true Brit wants that.

 

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