I suppose that a bought-and-paid-for ticket is a way of keeping tabs on fans/supporters and having a bit of a clue as to how many people will be attending your event but, really, I’m well on my way to turning the status quo on its head and becoming a great advocate of fans being paid to turn out. Especially golf fans, now that LIV has established that money is no object.
It’s not such a daft idea when you delve a little further. After all, without fans there’s no atmosphere (Covid proved that beyond doubt) and we obligingly dispense with all our image rights and most of our other rights – have you taken out the magnifying glass and trawled your way down the terms and conditions?! – when we buy our tickets. The gate receipts have long been a secondary (at best) consideration at most golf tournaments and most fans receive very little in return for their money – programmes are extra, food and drink are extortionate all too often, the dimensions of permitted bags tend to be too tiny to accommodate all the stuff needed for a day’s golf watching (and a Sherpa costs extra) and at some venues you can see very little unless you’re an experienced tramper.
As you’ll have guessed that’s one of my hobby horses, so I’ll dismount at once and concede that the ticket for the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games was worth every penny – and, just about, every hour spent agonising over how to access said ticket, to ensure that we were allowed in to the newly refurbished Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr. Luckily, rail strikes notwithstanding (how I love that word!!), my mate who’d given me the ticket (husband on urgent business in Bangladesh) and I were able to get to the venue by a combination of car, train and bike. We ditched the bike in favour of a shuttle bus on the return journey and caught the last train with our last puff.
Liz, above left, had a vested interest in the ceremony because her daughter Sophy was performing with a group called Critical Mass and had been rehearsing tirelessly for months and months.
Apologies for the truncated photos – no idea why that’s happened and technical support is not available in the middle of the night. It was half past midnight when we made it home, so there’s a bit of an excuse. [Have fixed them for you, Patricia, – Mo.]
Don’t ask me to explain every nuance of the festivities – some of it was wonderfully daft – but it was colourful, captivating, spectacular and we loved every minute of it, applauding and cheering madly at every opportunity and waving frantically at all 72 of the teams as they paraded round the stadium. No wonder my hands and throat are sore.
And here he is again (left of pic), near the end of the proceedings.
Earlier in the week I made a slightly easier journey – 100 or so yards across the road to Beacon Park – to visit Carters Steam Fair, on its last tour, sadly. Everything is immaculate and beautifully presented and I had a go on the carousel, which has featured in several films, including Paddington 2 but should not be called a carousel apparently because that’s an American thing and this is, perhaps, a merry-go-round, a whirligig or a teeter-totter. Anyway, it was great fun and just about on my limit of circling!
Anyway, I’m off to the badminton this afternoon, to see how it should be played. Since my last game – my one and only singles – was half a century ago, I can’t pretend to know anything at all. I used to play doubles, very lazily, relying on my partner and my reach, in the church hall and why I entered the singles ladder in my first term at uni, heaven only knows. Singles badminton is brutal and its exponents have to be unbelievably fit. Fortunately my opponent was no better than I was but he did not want to be beaten by a girl and we fought ourselves to a standstill. With my last gasp, I staggered the shuttle over the net, out of his reach, inside the line and that was that. I never played again, never saw him again (he was furious at losing, hooray!) and was still glowing like a Belisha beacon 40 minutes later when I met up with friends. They weren’t interested in the details of my triumph; they were too busy laughing at my visage rouge.
Finally, just because the newspaper cutting (remember those?) is dated July 28 1971, so it’s the right time of year, here is a piece from the Belfast Telegraph about the Irish Girls’ Golf Championship at Royal Belfast, Craigavad, a real example of all our yesterdays.
Sorry, again, that the photo is so small and the names probably unreadable but I hope you can make out some of them and remember long-forgotten triumphs and disasters.
Modesty nearly forbade me from mentioning the result but I got my comeuppance in the next round.