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Spanish Eyes, English Words

A blended blog - Spanish life and culture meets English freelancer who often gets mistaken for Spanish senora. It's the eyes that do it, rather than the command of the language. Anything can and probably will happen here.

Being in the UK for Andy Murray's historic win - beats being anywhere else!
10 July 2013 @ 11:52

As you will know if you're a regular reader here, our time in has been extended from 3 - 4 weeks to three months and counting, so instead of watching Wimbledon from our Spanish apartment, we watched it in sunny - for once! - Devon. And I'm really glad we were here to enjoy the atmosphere, because nothing beats Being There when something wonderful is happening.

We didn't actually make it to Wimbledon - my daughter did, but it was on a non-Murray day, so none of us actually saw him play in person, but we were there to watch every ball cross the net, and cringe at the cliches that Tim Henman and Andrew Castle rolled out on a daily basis.

Even better than the unfamiliar pursuit of seeing a Brit win at Wimbledon was the happy atmosphere that was omnipresent.  The weather helped, of course, but even total strangers were talking in the street about Murray's chances, and replaying each game as if everyone was suddenly a tennis pundit.

And of course, the papers were full of it. I know you can read all the news online, but there's nothing quite like ploughing through a newspaper and drinking in all the details and photos, and with newspapers at upwards of 2 Euro in Spain, we wouldn't have been doing that at home. No doubt all the papers will be offering Murray memorabilia for just a few tokens and a couple of quid in postage, so I'll be able to take advantage of any likely offers, and I'll get the glossy souvenir brochures which are sure to feature in the weekend press, so that's another good reason to Be There.

I was There when Spain won the World Cup in 2010, and although I'm not Spanish, it was wonderful to drink in the excitement between the matches. On the night of the Final, we went down to the village square in Algorfa - along with what felt like the entire population of our corner of the Costa Blanca. As well as the big screen brought in specially for the occasion, every resident had brought out their own televisions into the square, and the atmosphere was electric. We partied in the square until the early hours, and it's one of those memories I shall take well into old age.

The last time sporting history was made in the UK - when England lifted the World Cup in 1996 - I was on holiday with the family in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava. At 14 and football mad, I pleaded with my father to change the holiday arrangements, as I desperately wanted to see England win on home turf. Not unreasonably, he refused, with the rider that 'England will be well out of it before we even get on the plane.' 

It wasn't often that Dad's judgement failed him, but he was spectacularly wrong on that one, and although I managed to take in all of England's remaining games, it just wasn't the same as Being There.

The final was a great experience, as our hotel was mainly inhabited by Brits and Germans, so it was like a mini Wembley. 14 year old me got seriously drunk, as, with the wild optimism of youth, I forecast a 4 - 2 victory for England before a single ball was kicked. The English contingent promised me £1 per man if my forecast turned out to be correct, while  the Germans were laughing so much at my forecast they kept me supplied with beer all the way through the game. At the final whistle, I was very drunk and very rich - at least by 14 year old, 1966 standards.

So 1966 was also memorable for me, but by the time we landed at Gatwick, the small amount of hype over the victory had died down completely. The media will probably still be going on about Murray's victory when he steps out on Centre Court to defend his title next year, but we didn't make such a fuss about it back then - the past was a very different country.

Whenever footage of 1966 is shown, it's great to watch, but it's somewhat unfamiliar. We didn't even learn of the famous 'They think it's all over - it is now!' comment until a couple of days later, because in those days, the newspapers had to be flown across the channel. It would have been wonderful to Be There when sport's most iconic utterance became public.

So, what do you think? Do you like to Be There when sporting history is made, or would you rather be well out of it? We will also Be There for the Royal Birth - unless the stork is spectacularly behind schedule - and that's something else I'm rather looking forward to.

 



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bored said:
04 January 2014 @ 11:17

I think I'd rather be anywhere they don't show the tennis - he's so boring and overrated - and half the time can't be bothered to turn up to play for his country in the Davis Cup, or to pick up the personality (what personality ?) of the year award - yawn

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