Speaking personally - Ralph Mellon

Ralph Mellon
Ralph Mellon

MY colleague Gordon Holmes, of the Fife Free Press, says he’s finding it very hard to get exhilarated about the Olympic Games, despite being a lover of sport.

I share this sentiment exactly; well, the first half of it, anyway.

I suspect I don’t love sport quite as much as Gordon, or many of my other co-workers in the FFP group, although I do appreciate the prowess of people doing what they’re best at, and the entertainment value it can provide.

But we’ve just had two massive TV sporting occasions – Euro 2012 and Wimbledon – virtually back to back and my attention was gripped only sporadically by the former and not at all by the latter.

It most definitely won’t be with the Olympics, even with it being practially on our doorstep. Well, maybe the doorstep of the house across the street. Quite a wide street.

Ever since that clip on the news about seven years ago, with Sebastian Coe and others all leaping about with crazed, wide-eyed joy because they’d trumped the French, I knew the long build-up would be insufferable.

The vast majority of the sports leave me totally indifferent, and I get the feeling London will not be a particularly nice place to be while it’s all unfurling.

The only antidote has come with the dead-on, acidly funny satire ‘Twenty Twelve’, about the organisational build-up to the Games, which mercifully returns to BBC2 this week.

I also couldn’t have cared less about Wimbledon either, regardless of how Andy Murray fared. Sorry.

My mother was a passionate Wimbledon fan and even used to arrange work holidays in the summer so she could watch every ball. Her verve didn’t rub off on me.

I kept pace with Euro 2012 but find it tough to watch an entire live game – and the TV pundits on both major channels deserved the critical pummelling they’ve had for the feast of inanity they served up between footballing courses.

However, one or two events almost turned me into something I’ve never been – a betting man.

The guys in the Mail office like a sporting flutter – one even declares it’s part of a young man’s rite of passage – but I’ve never seen the attraction.

That said, how many times in life has something happened which you had a sneaking feeling about and then thought ‘I wish I’d put money on that’?

FFP group staff were asked to pick a winner in Euro 2012 for a supplement carried by ourselves and all our sister titles.

I thought Germany would win it but so did my co-workers, so I plumped for Italy, just to add a bit of spice.

Then, when the Azzuri got all the way to the final and the mighty Germans had fallen, I thought, I wonder what odds I’d get ... just out of interest?

Naturally, a 4-0 drubbing by Spain made me glad I’d not followed my rite of passage.

I didn’t even watch the whole final – myself and Mellon Jnr regarded the first half-hour or so, then decided to give ‘The Blues Brothers’ an airing.

It’ll be hard to escape at least some Olympic coverage – but I wouldn’t bet on it. Fancy a pint in a pub without tellies, Gordon?