Sipping Earl Grey from a china mug whilst reading the Telegraph following a strenuous coffee morning at the Country Club - stereotypically British. True, this is a stereotype that would be recognised worldwide, but as a sports fan what does it mean to be quintessentially British?
It would seem appropriate to begin with late spring and the early part of the summer - the crisp autumn air and brown leaves are being rapidly replaced by smatterings of warmer sunshine and, who could forget them, daffodils. Just as we see a change in the seasons, we see a shift from the rough and tumble of rugby to the elegance of the cricket season. For many the first sounds of Jonathan Agnew and Henry Blofeld presenting the summer's cricket instalment is music to our ears. Blofeld is celebrated throughout England for his plummy voice and his idiosyncratic mention of superfluous details - many a day at work have been lost listening to Blofeld carefully describe a picture perfect Michael Vaughan cover drive. For those who have yet to be blessed by the sound of Mr Agnew, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiYayt6IgtM. (This is a clip of his infamous "putting on a rubber" gaff).
Sticking with cricket and moving outside of the professional game, one of the finest outings one can have is Sunday cricket. On God's day of rest we take to village greens in our scores, we bat, we bowl, some of us field and we attempt to soak in the sun's rays. As 24 willing sportsmen (sportsmen, of course, used loosely here) take to a quaint village green to casually toss a leather ball 22 yards we have what is undeniably one of the most celebrated occasions in British. The day isn't about winning or losing - it is about tea. Every club strives to produce the best tea - making the best tea is winning. Cheese and cucumber sandwiches, Victoria sponge cake, scotch eggs - now this is what we came for. After tea, as the match draws to a close we see the sun disappearing over the nearest 300 year old Oak tree into the distance, a truly mesmerising scene. At close - the pub.
We move to another sport played on a green carpet, lawn tennis. Nothing is quite so symbolic of a British summer than the reasonably priced strawberries and cream on offer at Wimbledon. People flock from all corners of the globe to SW19 to watch the best sporting tournament in the world, a tournament that far surpasses any footballing competition and simply blows any other sports tournament out of the water. The sheer simplicity of Wimbledon is mind boggling. The respect for traditions that have stemmed back since 1877 is awe inspiring. Without wishing to quote incorrect figures, I would suggest that participation in tennis rockets during the Wimbledon fortnight such is the British pride in the event. Each year we are blessed with royalty in the surprisingly named "Royal Box", it is truly a sporting event that couldn't be anymore befitting of royalty.
Staying with the Championships in south-west London, it would be a massive oversight to fail to mention the annual British protagonist who aims to capture the hearts of the nation. Overlooking Scotland's Andy Murray, Tim Henman was the epitome of all things English. Carefully spoken, a family man was loved by the public and duly had a mound of grass named after him, how English most would say. Year in year out we heralded said year as "Tim's year", unfortunately it was never to be, but Tim Henman shall long reside in the hearts of the English nation.
If we shift seasons to the autumnal and wintery months we see rugby take centre stage. Twickenham, the home of rugby, must be right up there with the best sporting venues in the world. Watching the nation's sweetheart Johnny Wilkinson kick over his umpteenth penalty goal and hearing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" echoing from all four corners of the ground must tingle more than several nerves and make most of your hairs stand on end. At half time we see gaggles of people all scrambling to reach the bar to get their hands on a pint of bitter, but such is the draw and the attraction of the rugby, the bars empty as quickly as they have filled as people clamber back to their seats. And who's to forget the national pride reverberating around the stadium as 82,000 hardy folk get to their feet to belt out God Save the Queen. Quite brilliant.
Follow Freddie Clamp on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@ftclamp