Saturday, 7 July 2012

Nationalism and Wimbledon

Some things today have given me concern, focused on Wimbledon. One is the expressed view, especially in a question to ‘Any Questions’ and the replies there and in ‘Any Answers’ afterwards - that we should not respect Andy Murray’s achievement in getting to the men’s finals but should demand, and only respect, victory in the final. The others were similar comments on the men’s doubles and elsewhere. Is mentioning anything other than a victory, 'celebrating failure'?

Well: I think something is seriously missing from this. Wimbledon is not something in which any ‘nationality’ is automatically given a win. It is about, one assumes, skill, determination, and bloody-mindedness in various ways. But nationalism isn’t, surely, what it’s about. In, for instance, the doubles matches, there are numerous cross-national pairs. And for my part, yes, I’d love for Andy Murray to win tomorrow; but I enjoy Roger Federer’s playing, and so my hope is to watch and cheer for a good, world-class, match. The match, of course, occasioned by the environment which is Wimbledon. And that is what, in my opinion, we should celebrate.

Britishness – well, yes, there have been things about whether Murray is ‘Scottish’ or ‘British’. He is of course by dint of being Scottish axiomatically British, but this seems to escape some commentators. However, the key point for me here is that it’s not whether a ‘Brit’ wins, but that Wimbledon is British. It is our forum, and is one of the best of such, that we provide  - paralleled by those hosted elsewhere – to the world. So let’s get sorted the difference between what we host, magnificently, and any claims to titles, which because of opening to the world, we can’t and shouldn’t make, and we don’t want to whine, do we?

And so, if one of 'ours' gets near, to the quarter-finals, semi-finals, or the championship, these are all to celebrate, within a world of performance and not narrowly circumscribed.

No comments:

Post a Comment