The Words of the Warren Family
It's late and I should go to bed. But I'm hooked. This World Cup has become a fascination for me. As France implodes and our England mega-stars sleep-walk through a whole match, South Africa is hosting an absolutely brilliant event. Someone in our family is even learning Afrikaans! I should care about our progression into the knockout stages but y'know I cried enough over England in the Seventies as a kid. They can't hurt me anymore.
When Italia '90 began, we were living in Wembley with the lovely Robertson family. Hamish and Chantal were so sweet and their little tribe were the cutest. They had their little arguments (in French) and I never let on that my French isn't so bad actually… Anyway, that World Cup was amazing. We looked to be going home early but something began to happen and the team played some of their best games ever. Paul Gascoigne was on fire. His yellow card tears were ours as we were about to make it to the final. The Cup was almost in our grasp. Ah, the disaster of penalties! But also we know in our own 'Sporting Life', the very unpredictable nature of the future means we can only 'play well' and say sorry for not doing more. We lost but really there was no shame because the lads done good. They gave it their best shots.
Wimbledon begins but I'm not that interested this year because my heart lies in team sports. This little Island has invented all of the most important games you can play. We have taught the world the culture of coming together to give each other a good thrashing and still be able to shake hands afterwards. It is a work of peace building, to compete fairly and seek after mutual self-improvement. Bruises in place of mortal wounds.
We have given New Zealand their rugby. We have given the Aussies cricket. We gave them something to be proud of. We gave Brazil football, but only briefly. And yes, America, we played rounders long before it had its name changed to baseball. We have taught the world the very Christian notion of allowing others to succeed before ourselves. We're like parents trying to think up games for our children to play on a wet day. We wrote the rules that rewired the synapses of the human relational psyche. Because they were bored and wouldn't get on with each other. Wouldn't listen. Couldn't share. We gave the world of men a chance to prove themselves worthy without bloodshed.
So much goodness has emanated from this fair isle although we may not have played fairly all the time. And that's the other quality this nation has -- the honesty to look at our own shortcomings, re-evaluate and then progress. The boos aren't necessary. The process is in-built. We cannot be proud of ourselves but we can be proud of who we represent. The generations have come and gone through the vast millennia of history and we stand here together today. The coach stoops down beside me with a wet sponge as I am gasping for breath. He speaks in English for the world to understand and says there is only one generation now, not the older or the younger. One team, one family and obviously one set of Parents. Duh! And that is how it will be forever.
And her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are Peace.
Oh, and can we have our ball back please?