Now I’m fully aware of the controversy and issues surrounding the Olympics this year and the torch relay and I very much agree with most of them. However this is another story that many who knock the games may not be aware of and that is the amazing dedication that countless thousands of primarily young people put into training into their chosen sport.
In Leeds for example if you go down to the John Charles Centre for Sport on any night of the week you will see the place packed with young swimmers, divers and athletes all putting in effort, training hard, learning new things, progressing and having a great time. I’ve spent countless hours over the last few years watching this and have come to the conclusion that these young people are the complete antithesis of the general “oh young people today” mindset of some people and it is here that the papers should come if they want a reflection of young people today as this picture, which is no doubt replicated up and down the country, is a far more accurate reflection than is generally portrayed.
So for me it’s not the cost, sponsorship, ticket sales etc etc that I think of when I think of the games or the torch it’s these young people and the thousands like them that are simply putting in effort, having fun and doing the best they can which is symbolised by the torch.
Yesterday on the torch’s vast journey round Britain it passed about 20 yards from my house and I so I popped out with the kids to see it before school. I must say the atmosphere was fantastic, there was a real community feel the like of which you don’t experience very often. Staff from the local shops and factories came out, school children were there, residents young and old, the builders from the site nearby all packed a quite residential street on the outskirts of Leeds, chatting and having a good time. It was simply good fun and we all need more of that I’d say.