This time last week, I was sat on the edge of my seat, watching some of the most inspiring athletes in the world use all their physical and mental strength to win medals and accolades for their countries. This week, I’m watching four people from Hull crack jokes about ‘Thai Balls’ on Channel 4’s beacon for all that is simultaneously right and wrong in our society, ‘Come Dine With Me’ and some overenthusiastic samba dancers jiggle their Mary-Kate and Ashley’s for the world on ‘The One Show’. Yes, the end of the Olympics is a rather bitter pill to swallow for students, the unemployed and the elderly. How will we fill our days anymore? Times before London 2012 are all but a distant memory, and now the readjustment process in which I’m attempting to readjust to an olympic-less day-to-day lifestyle is presenting itself to be somewhat of a tough task. I miss the red button. I miss equestrian dressage. I MISS BLOODY CLAIRE BALDING. The only thing that goes anywhere near filling the Olympic-sized void in my broken heart is Jasmine Harman guiding prospective homeowners around North Italian log-cabins in her own unique, ‘who-let-the-primary-school-teacher-turn-her-hand-to-television-presenting’ way as part of ‘A Place in the Sun: Home or Away’. Yet, even as I watch her discuss the pros and cons of a conservatory extension of a French villa, or the price of a bottle of Sangria and some dairy products in some far-flung European ski resort, my mind cannot help drift back to the Olympic park studios, and the dulcet tones of Sue Barker and Matt Baker discussing the results of the canoe sprint.
I am tempted to take action. I cannot simply stand for a lack of alternative sport in my life anymore. The rush of disappointment that rushes through my veins every time I switch on my television to realise there is no taekwondo or fencing to get my teeth into is just too much to ignore. As I lay face down on the floor of my room, attempting to part with the ‘Taste The Difference’ cookie bags and commemorative Olympic face masks picked up on my trip to the Olympic Park, I orchestrate, in my mind, a plan to ensure my post-Olympic blues are eradicated. I will begin to regain my life back; I am sure I agreed at some stage (pre-Olympics OBVZ) to pick my Grandmother up from her local station following her holiday. Now is the time to hazard a trip to said station in hope that Grandma would have had enough money to fund alternative means of travel, as opposed to the sight of one fatigued eighty-three year old woman surviving on rationed Ribena cartons and Werthers originals.
Furthermore, I will use my new-found passion for Olympic sport to train in a new sport. Tell me; is getting involved in equestrian dressage hard? An undoubtable highlight of the Olympics for me was the wonderful sight of musically-gifted horse trot-dancing merrily. This is the perfect sport for me to pursue. I was never one for a racket or ball; my hand-eye co-ordination is appalling, and my running skill resembles that of Phoebe from Friends. However, besides my fur allergy, and my inability to ride a horse, I feel equestrian dressage is a perfect match for me. Come 2016, the people of Rio will be falling at their knees in praise as I command my horse to trot to the beat of a track from either disc of our family ‘Heart FM Heartbreakers’ compilation.
Finally, I will learn how to deal with my pent up anger at myself for not getting involved lot more effectively. If only I’d known back in 2010 when I was offered the chance to apply; the glory that would have come with being responsible for raking the sand at the Beach Volley Ball or the being the brandisher of a fluorescent pink foam finger directing the borderline psychotic ticket holders to their £750 early morning diving tickets! If only I’d known this then, then of course I would have jumped at the chance to be part of the Olympic revelry; an opportunity I will NEVER get back. I suppose, however, the uncertainty of it all prevented me from striking out and making that grand application. For every volunteer that was provided a position rubbing shoulders with the American athletes guiding them to their position on the track, another was put in charge of directing angry tourists off the central line to join the mile long queue inside the park for sandwiches sold by gap-year students and the wealthy elderly of East London. However, whether you are dishing out kumquats to the American swimming team or shovelling the waste of nervous dancing horses who have pre-performance nerves; at least you still had the opportunity to keep the wonderful purple/beige uniform and engage in the free-for-all scramble for various 2012 paraphernalia once the games ended. Judging by the pictures of Facebook friends who volunteered and have subsequently cleared out the Olympic venues, they’re having a great time. There is nothing more envy-inducing than having friends who now own fluorescent pink signage or broken javelins. I ENVY THE LUCKY VOLUNTEER WHO GOT THEIR GRUBBY LITTLE MITS ON MO FARAH’S SECTION OF THE SUPER SATURDAY PODIUM. I would just pretend I were an olympic champion and relive my victory ceremony over and over and over again! The stuff of dreams!
Spare a thought however, for poor Seb Coe. I fear Seb will only manage one week of having nothing to do before he will begin actively seeking employment once more. Lord Coe is a wonderful man; a wonderful man that has been busy every day since around 2004. The fast paced lifestyle of an Olympic chair is no match for retirement. Subsequently, my bet is that by December, Lord Coe will be selling cut-price theatre tickets in a small booth just outside Leicester Square, whilst simultaneously running small-scale community sporting events across the country, such as fun runs and school sports days. Much like Tony Blair and Peggy Mitchell from continual LOL-fest ‘Eastenders’, poor Seb won’t be able to relinquish that power.
The Olympics have taught me many things. Firstly, I’m not to allow Trevor Nelson to commentate on any events of cultural significance, if, at any point, I’m required to organise an event of cultural significance. Secondly, I’d maybe like to think twice in the future before purchasing tickets for snooze-fest Canoe Sprint; especially when your tickets do not provide you with a seat, but instead just a place in a crowd that I would liken to a battery farm for over enthusiastic, screaming tourists. Above all, I’d like to think that my fascination with sports will remain; that I’ll continue to pursue and follow the sports I’ve become so accustomed to over the last fortnight. Sadly however, come next week; once the bunting is removed and the last few fluorescent pink signs are removed from London Bridge station by over-zealous tourists, my flirtation with fencing, taekwondo, judo, heptathlon and modern pentathlon will come to an end. That’s the upsetting thing about ‘olympic fever’; it’s as transparent and temporary as the beach volley ball pitch at the Horses Guards Parade. We’ve had our fun; our temporary flirtation with happiness and national glee. Let’s all get back to McDonalds and cynicism now shall we? As you were…