Watching the recent Ashes test series between England and Australia was a bitter-sweet experience for me. As glad as I was to see the mighty Australia being humbled by a clearly superior English team, I somehow couldn’t celebrate England’s comprehensive victory because, well I never want England to win anything in sport. In my books there is nothing better than watching an English team lose and the usual fall-out that accompanies that defeat.
By the same token, there is nothing worse in sport than watching the English win anything, because it is often followed by the kind of hysterics that are typical of a nation that is not used to winning. As bad as it is watching the Aussies win, at least they are used to winning and don’t rub their victory in your face as much as the English do.
The English win so infrequently that every time they win something, they feel the need to KBE (knight) and MBE everyone. The 1966 Football World Cup is a case in point, with the likes of Sir Bobby Moore, Sir Alf Ramsey etc. The epic 2005 Ashes series, where a good English team beat Australia for the first time in around 15 years is another case in point. A team that had been losing to the same opponent for fifteen years all of a sudden found itself having the honour of being MBEd after winning only one Ashes series. The folly of this decision was proven in the next year when England where beaten five nil by Australia at home as the Aussies emphatically reclaimed the Ashes.
As I was watching the recent series and the brilliant batting of the likes of Alistair Cook, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, I couldn’t help but dread the scenario of England winning the Ashes and the bragging and disproportionate celebrations that would follow. Of course it didn’t help knowing that half the English team are South African or of South African origin. The reality is that a good English team beat a very average Australian team unlike the 2005 series where a good English team beat a great Australian team and if anything, started its demise, which has led to the current poor state of the game in Australia.
At the risk of being accused of being anti-Jingoistic I somehow can’t celebrate any English victory in any sport, even when the English are clearly superior to their opponent as England obviously where against Australia.