World of Rupe
Exactly a year ago in Beijing, Usain Bolt strolled 100 metres in a time requiring something approaching warpspeed to complete. It was a truly stunning piece of human athleticism that anyone who appreciates any kind of sporting prowess could admire. He made a quality field of the best athletes in the world look like club journeymen. As he had a bad start and also appeared to be slowing down and showboating for most of the second half of the "race" it was surely only a matter of time before he would get everything right and produce something memorable and last night was that night. He ran an insanely fast time and broke his own record by 11/100ths of a second and over 100 metres, where world records are measured in one or two 100ths at a time that is a ridiculous amount. Tyson Gay ran the third fastest time in history - what would have been a world record a year ago - and came second. It sounded a spectacle. But some spectacles can only truly be appreciated visually; it is often extremely thrilling to watch someone do something expertly and if they are a peerless master at that skill then that thrill becomes a privelege, even though that privilege is being shared with millions.
I texted my sister, no mean athlete herself (a multi be-medalled Veteran world champion) and asked whether she'd seen it. Yes, she had and it was superb. Bugger. Oh well, it was 9 pm and time for my Sunday evening indulgence; I'd go and watch the replay in the pub. Bound to be on - that was history being made, wasn't it. 15 minutes later and I was propping up the bar in the Gaffer's Row watching two screens in turn, one showing Rupe-O-News and the other Rupe-O-Sports News. A big yellow tickertape was flashing along the bottom of both screens announcing the breaking news of Mr Bolt's triumph. "Good", I thought, they'll show it soon. Did they bollocks. Two hours I stood and watched that shite. Oh they mentioned it enough and on the Sports channel I saw miniscule highlights of lots of things. Rugby League; Andy Murray winning a tennis match in Montreal; a seagull nicking a bail at the Australia v England Lions game at my spiritual home, the St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury. They talked about the unravelling final round in the US PGA golf and showed a bit of the Moto GP. Wayne Rooney gave a lucid and intelligent interview, Neil Warnock showed righteous indignation at the "non-goal". It was on a loop, the same stories over and over again and and presided over by two of the most vacuous, uninspiring and boring presenters I'd ever witnessed. No sense of history at all. This was the sports channel for crying out loud! Something truly remarkable in the world of sport had happened and you weren't talking about it. Why not? Instead you were showing the Dutch football league table. Who's interested in that? Who buys this crap? Go hang your heads in collective shame.
*© S.Milligna, 1955