Saturday, 2 November 2019

Winning and losing

Ann had a day in London yesterday to meet her friend Sylvia. They meet in the M&S bridge cafe of the Westfield Centre where they can chat for three hours over a cup of coffee. Ann thought they ought perhaps buy a second cup, but Sylvia never wants two, so they make it last. They are not the worse offenders though: some people were on their laptops over a cup of coffee when they arrived, and were still there when they left. It is rather hard on the cafe when it's lunch time, and some people come to eat but can't get a seat. But not so bad as one pair Ann noticed, who bought a cup of coffee then proceeded to eat their own sandwiches from a Gregg's carrier bag.

Sylvia is a tiny woman from the far north of England. She always dresses elegantly and – though in her seventies – is as energetic as a woman of half her age, and always able to cap a story with another. When finally they went shopping (or more accurately, looking at all the clothes that wouldn't suit them), Ann mentioned she has to be careful because of her 'fat legs'. Ann's legs are not fat, but it is something she has always been self-conscious about. Sylvia immediately replied that she's always been self-conscious of her skinny legs ever since a teenager, when a boy told her: "the last time I saw legs that thin was when I was putting rings on my pigeons!" Sylvia has lived in London for most of her life, but quite apart from any debate about leg size, this sets her firmly in the North. What teenager in the South East would keep pigeons?

We rose early to watch England lose the world cup. After their brilliant win against the All Blacks last week, we looked for miracles, but you can only play the best game ever once, and it looked as though everything had been used up with that magnificent win. The Springboks ran rings round them, and certainly deserved their win. What sort of sportsmanship do England show though, when they refuse to wear their silver medals? For most of those players, being second best in the world is likely to be their best ever life experience, and they spurn it! Wales or Scotland would have loved to be second.

 "For when the One Great Scorer comes
To mark against your name,
He writes - not that you won or lost -
But how you played the Game."

Their attitude is diabolical, and a miserable example to the rest of the country, but fully in line with the modern attitude which seems to not accept that life has runners-up, and we can't all win everytime. It used to be enough to take part - play up, play up, and play the game! Now, it is accepted that to lose is to become yet another remoaner.
To add to today's loss, Middlesbrough lost against Derby, their eigth loss in a row! Now there's a loss we can moan about — wouldn't the Boro love to be second in the league right now.



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