Sunday, April 08, 2007

Singing The Blues

Singing The Blues

"Cambridge fucking won".

It comes as the last in a line of twenty plus text updates from Nik, updates which had started so well - a winning toss, the Surrey station, an early lead.

There are people around in the way that - until the early hours of the morning - there are always people around at the WYP. But I know that none of them quite understand. And, let's be clear, I'm longing for a bit of understanding. This is not world ending stuff, or even weekend ending stuff, but it is something about me, something which I suspect I will never quite lose.

I hand my radio over, fold up the bright red Oxford t-shirt that I'd been wearing prior to the matinees and make my way out into Playhouse Square. The grass opposite the WYP, littered with semi-clad twenty somethings, makes me wonder if I've walked out into a Festival. But one I've not been invited to. And I can see how I would have painted this moment if the outcome had been different.

But it isn't.

And if the unknowing indifference of my surroundings holds up how distinctly odd my emotional involvement in the Boat Race is, then it also makes me smile. Because this is something special. Something that makes little sense given my own pre-disposition to playing sport, especially sport that involved getting up at 4am. Something that I know others point at as being elitist and class ridden, a remnant of another country and one which we don't want to remind ourselves of, thank you very much. Nothing more than a hiccough in the sporting calendar. But for me it is none of that.

It is shorthand. It is belonging and identification. It is memory. It is the past. It is the unstoppable future.

It is unconditional belief - orginating from some unknown place at some unknown time - raw and hard.

And next year? We'll do it all again.

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