The end of the Olympics brought to a close a sensational summer of sport, following on from the highly enjoyable Euros, a good if not classic Open golf, a fascinating (and continuing) Test battle for cricket's No.1 status between England and South Africa, fantastic cycling from around the world and the ongoing tale of Andy Murray's struggle to wrestle a major away from The Tennis Triumvirate. Add to that an unbeaten tour of the southern hemisphere by Scotland's rugby team and it truly has been a summer to remember.
For the Bluenose, of course, it's been a summer to remember for less happy reasons. There's been dozens of posts about our summer of agony and I don't want to repeat those. I want to examine how these others sports have replaced football for me as my No.1 sport.
I never thought I'd see the day when any other sport could replace fitba in my affections, but the sense of gloom that settled on me as SSN this morning reported the early rounds of the English League Cup was unmistakable. I had a feeling of resentment that soon, we would be discussing which idiot had pushed which idiot, and which idiot had pretended to be hurt more. Behaviour which brings about an immediate expulsion at The Olympics will be airily waved away as 'handbags' or 'all in the game' by incoherent pundits on shows like MoTD, and mediocrity will be embraced as success.
This mood has not been helped by footballers regularly claiming to have a lot in common with Olympians. Even allowing for the complete lack of self-awareness of the average pro, most of whom are distinctly average, comparing a light kick about three or four mornings a week to the dedication of Olympic athletes is not on. Ah, they say, but we have to peak twice a week. Any fan who can see a team in which players peak more than six or seven times a season please PM me as I'd like to give them a look.
It's not just the attitude. The standard of the game in Scotland has long turned me off, but I never turned away. Rangers need to take as much of the blame for this as anyone else, but the fact remains the level is low. The prospect of 3rd division football and all the romantic excitement that comes with it means I, along with my son, still go to Ibrox, but in the bigger football picture it's all been spoiled.
Why would anyone want their kid to be involved in what has become an exercise in boasting about how stupid you are? Intellectual dimwits like the current manager of Celtc are held up as intelligent and articulate, despite all evidence to the contrary. The owner of Hearts issues statements which would only fail to raise an eyebrow inside a secure unit. Rangers collapse under a wall of debt and hatred to make even a banker green with envy. Dundee Utd are absolutely hammered in Europe, with every chance Motherwell will follow. Every fan attempts to claim moral superiority over another, as though football were somehow a weather vane of righteousness. And all this miasma of cretinism is embraced by media outlets desperate to secure a piece of the ever dwindling revenue available from football.
All of which is topped off by the mad men of Park Gardens. The game in Scotland, ruled over by incompetents for decades (some of them ours), is witnessing a level of administrative lunacy from Hampden notable even in the SFA's long and inglorious history.
Radio5 live, which carries vast amounts of live English football, has been soul searching about whether to cover other, minority sports instead. But they won't, since if they make available another 50 live games, stations such as Talksport will take them; the drop in listening figures for the BBC will give the government the excuse they need to cut the licence fee. It's a complete rejection of what the Olympics is all about, but it's all too symptomatic of how football, especially, operates nowadays: £££.
The Olympics came around at the right moment for me. Yesterday, I find that archery, a hit in my house during the competition, is available in the Southside of Glasgow. Well, that's the right area at least! We'll definitely be giving it a go. I still go to games, but I doubt my son will when he grows up. He, and probably I, will be lost to the game.
Postscript: Previous Gersnet posts seem to gather a lot of responses from non-Bears, and they are no doubt delighted at the thought of two less Rangers fans in the game. 'Nothing but scum' is about the nicest charge that has been levelled at us over the years and especially recently. Maybe. I can't see myself as others see me, none of us can, but I do know that I have to take time out from online Rangers forums due to the levels of trumpetude on display; I'm no fan of bigots of any stripe. If football is losing fans like me, chances are all you'll be left with are the ones you hate so much.
I shall be enjoying my archery, or whatever. I hope you non-Bears enjoy the company of those you hate so much: you deserve each other.