First Person

Fiona Purnell
Fiona Purnell

With Fiona Purnell

Whoever thought a litle yellow ball that’s hit back and forth across a net could unite a whole nation.

But judging by the weekend’s events it did just that.

It may have been one of the best days of weather we have had all year, but on Sunday I was among those who put the summer on hold for a few hours and went indoors to show support for Andy Murray.

The number of people I have spoken to who are not in the least bit interested in tennis, or in fact many sports, but who joined the millions watching the Wimbledon men’s singles final is tremendous.

For the first time in 77 years a British man won the tournament - it was a little longer since the last Scot won!

But Murray mania was rife across the whole of the UK, not just Scotland.

Since Sunday, Murray’s face and name has been everywhere, on the television, in the newspapers and on social media networks all over the internet.

There’s been talk of knighthoods and how he missed his mum while celebrating and had to go back to see her.

He’s been to Parliament and to Downing Street showing off the trophy.

There’s no denying it’s a great achievement for the tennis player from Dunblane, but there’s a few questions I’m dying to know the answers to.

The first is when do we get to have other news on the front page of the nation’s newspapers?

Do we have to wait until the Royal baby comes along? Hope everyone’s got their bet on the little one’s arrival date, sex, name and weight.

Fingers crossed that’s sometime soon, although afterwards we’ll need something else to happen pretty sharpish so that the future king or queen is given a little bit of peace to grow up.

But my next question is something a little more important.

Can we capitalise on Murray Mania and use it to help encourage our younger generations to keep active?

It’s not necessarily about getting them to take up tennis and striving to be the next Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic.

It’s more about trying to get them to be active and take up any sport which they fancy and giving it a go.

Ultimately though, they don’t even need to try and become the next Lionel Messi, Usain Bolt, Dan Carter or Rory McIlroy.

There was a lot of talk surrounding the Olympics last year of the legacy of the games, but it seems as if this has been forgotten about to a certain extent.

People may argue that something has been done and money ploughed into certain sports around the country, but still more is needed to get kids up off their seats and away from computer games.

There are people out there trying to do just that - you only need to look at the number of community clubs there are in Fife offering young people the chance to take part in something fun and healthy and providing an opportunity to be part of a team and learn discipline and new skills.

The possibilities of groups and clubs to join is endless, with something to suit everyone.

All these organisations need is the continued financial help to enable them to provide these chances, something which for many is a struggle in these difficult times.

It was a great weekend for British sport in general with a test series win against Australia for the British and Irish Lions for the first time in 16 years and Chris Froome secured a stage win in the Tour De France, seeing him wearing the yellow jersey earlier in the week.

If things like these, and Murray’s Wimbledon win can further entice people into the sporting world then it’s an even bigger achievement for those sportsmen and women who are succeeding in their chosen field.