Born in the 80s, an entire generation has grown up in sporting misery. Each one of these Oasis listening losers (myself included) is now looking to Murray with the same mindless optimism with which they looked at any other Brit that showed the slightest ounce of talent.
My generation – the born in the 80s but wore anoraks in the 90s – can summarise our childhoods with the combined images of Gareth Southgate holding his head in hands after his meekly side-footed catastrophe in 96 and Tim Henman’s year-in-year-out almost success. We are a whole generation for whom sporting life is defined by huge potential and then inevitable failure.
Tim Henman for example, once a household name in the 90’s with an entire hill at Wimbledon named after him is, in the cold harsh light of retrospect, a laughing stock in the commentary box and, in a twist of British self-deprecating humour, a synonym with male inadequacy in the sack (think crashing out at the semi).
But this up-bringing, with all the psychological trauma it entails, has raised an army of Brits marked by mindless optimism. Against all odds, against anything history dares to teach us – we still aimlessly believe in any Brit (born or bred) that shows the slightest ounce of talent.
Take Steve McClaren and his merry band of over-paid under-performing fuck ups as a case in point.
Back in 2007 we honestly believed that under Steve McClaren we could not only qualify for Euro 2008 but actually do well. I remember being sat in a pub as the reality of not qualifying sunk in. The genuine sense of surprise from those around me was almost laughable. Everyone honestly thought we should, could and would do well. What parallel universe were we living in?
It is with nerve racking anticipation then that we now edge towards the final stages of another major sporting event with a Brit in good shape and looking, very possibly, on course to win. Murray plays the (gulps) semi-final of the men’s singles tonight at Wimbledon.
In a single moment one man has an opportunity to rectify so many wrongs. All those times we have limped off, held our head in our hands, slumped back in our armchairs…they will be confined to books of history rather than the contemporary watershed for our nations sporting success.
Worse of all, I think Murray realises the weight of this mad national psyche that rests on his shoulder. Last year, when Murray memorably broke down in tears while addressing the Centre Court crowd after losing the championship match, he said through his tears, “I’m getting closer.”
It’s bloody heartbreaking.
This army of failure hardened children of Thatcher are this afternoon going to flock to TV screens with an inevitable self-indulgent sense of expectation.
Despite being able to step back and see all this, something in my mind labeled ‘born in the 1980’s and slightly disturbed’ will click in and I too will be there screaming at a TV screen believing, feeling and anticipating every point.
It’s going to be a long weekend, but hey it’s been a long 27 years.