The sporting event formerly known as…oh wait, can I say it?
Monday 2nd July 2012
OK, I’m going to say it anyway. The Olympics. There we are.
As you may know, recently the US Olympic Committee got it’s knickers in a bit of a twist about Ravelry’s own homage to the Olympics. No? Google it and say goodbye to about an hour of your life, and while you’re at it say hello to the most humourless and bonkers bunch of faceless administrators you’re ever likely to (virtually) meet. I mean the US Olympic crew, not the Ravs.
I don’t post about ‘political’ stuff, if this is indeed even in that camp. But since there has been an incredibly unlikely and to be honest, farcical convergence of knitting/crochet and politically bizarre posturing on the part of the US Olympic movement, I’m just going to take a moment to laugh. There. That’s better.
Seriously, who’d have ever thought it could even be possible?
Anyway, Rav has changed the name of their knit-along-games and the US Olympic people have apologised. Twice, because the first time was kind of rude and sulky. So that’s all done and dusted.
In the midst of this ‘summer’ of sport, no sun, rain and wind, I have an idea. I am establishing a sports-free zone. In my dining room. All welcome for a brief spell of refuge.
My telly is currently infested with sports. Cricket, tennis, Tour de France, football (now thankfully over for about five minutes) and any moment now, the Olympics will cause a further deluge of sporting fervour to be unleashed. I like some sports and indeed enthusiastically take part in several. However, I tend to find watching them rather dull. I also get that some folks do love to watch sport on telly, that’s fine. In moderation. But actually, what we have here in the UK this summer, is a kind of sports dictatorship. There is so much of it and because the biggest chunk of this will be the Olympics and we are proud to be hosting it (I am proud that we got the Games and we seem to have done an amazing job with all the preparation, that bit is true!), it’s almost unpatriotic to say: please, a bit less with the sports now already.
The woman who knitted at Wimbledon made me smile though. Good for her and isn’t it funny that it’s become a viral image? There she is, calmly knitting as she probably does most days if she can. She looks happy, like maybe she is thinking: I never get to knit uninterrupted for this long usually, I hope this match goes on for hours and hours. I fancy I recognise her, but I am probably just hoping that is true. To her (probably) knitting is just so normal, as it is to us, that it doesn’t even seem odd to do it at Wimbledon, and indeed, it isn’t. I wonder what the thrust of the media attention is. Is it: oh my goodness, awesome multi-tasking? Or is it: how odd! Look! A woman is knitting, in public, at a sports event? Proving my long-held belief that to non-knitters, we knitters are a sub-species who only like knitting. And don’t do other stuff, like watch sport. Or run, or cave. And we do our knitting alone, indoors. The only way I’d be able to get through a tennis match anywhere would be if I was also knitting – but she is probably a big fan of both activities.
When I was a child, my mother was a sports fan. No, a fanatic. In the true sense of the word. She obsessively loved all televised sports and I think my dislike of watching it may stem from the years of Match of the Day, Horse of the Year Show, Snooker (um, I agree, not really a sport), Grand Prix (again, less of a sport, more of an activity?), and mainly, Wimbledon. For the Wimbledon season, she locked herself into the sitting room, drew the curtains, took the phone off the hook, having first spent feverish mornings preparing delicious things for tea and supper that could be eaten cold, such as Spam sandwiches, egg salad and Angel Delight – which in fact melts if left all afternoon, by the way. We had a very productive strawberry patch in the veg garden and dad and I lived on strawberries, basically. Dad would eat his with cream, sugar and bread and butter, so that he was properly full-up. I am not sure what my brother lived on, probably baked beans and milk, like the rest of the year. At the weekend in between the two weeks of Wimbledon, mum would sling together a couple of her fruit cakes and we’d eat them, buttered by the Thursday/Friday to counteract the creeping dryness. This may also be why I dislike fruit cake.
When I got in from school, I’d pad round to the back of the shrouded house and quietly let myself in, then slip into the sitting room. A pall of cigarette smoke would be dragged towards the draught caused by me opening the door and gradually reveal my mother, lying on the sofa, with her cigarettes and some useful activity such as knitting or an Agatha Christie novel on the floor. I’d perch and try watching for a bit. Chrissie Evert or someone, maybe a man who swore and wore headbands would be thumping about on screen. No talking was allowed. After a few minutes, I’d go and get changed and either hang about in the front garden and wait for dad or go out on my bike and buy chocolate if I had any money. Then we’d pick some more strawberries. It was just an annual ritual. In fact, it was many years before I could eat strawberries, too.
Anyway, I am weary of the sports overload and yet, for Mark it is literally heaven. So for the rest of the ‘summer’ whilst Mark spends his waking hours watching sport, I will be happy to provide an oasis of sports-free dining room time, with the fire lit or if it suddenly gets warm, in the summer house. There will be live streaming of old black and white musicals, tea and sandwiches, and knitting.