Patriots and realists

One of the things that is fascinating for me as an Englishman is the marvelous ability of the Scots to be highly enthusiastic in their support for their national teams and players – yet realistic enough not to expect them to beat every other team or player on the planet. This is in contrast to the situation in England where the prevailing mood is one of expectation – that is when it isn’t disappointment verging on indignation at an expectation that has not been met.

To be fair, this is possibly because the English media do like to talk up their sportsmen and women; in contrast, the Scottish media are more circumspect, but wonderfully positive nonetheless; for instance, on the night of Andy Murray’s exit from the Wimbledon semi-final, the comments on the BBC Radio Scotland sports programme – digressing from its intended topic of football (what close season?) -went along the following lines. Yes, it was disappointing to see Andy lose, but he’s an excellent role model for kids like may other Scots sportsmen and women; and let’s look on the bright side, brother Jamie is still playing in his semi-final. If only the note of optimism could have helped Jamie -a matter of minutes later, he too was leaving the SW19 tournament for another year. However, their countrymen were proud of them both, and with a view of “There’s always next time”, it makes a change from the English meda’s frequent attempts to explain away an English loss.

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