“Now is the winter of our disconten.Made glorious summer by this son of York,And all the clouds that loured upon our houseIn the deep bosom of the ocean buried.”- William Shakespeare, Richard III. Act I, Scene i
You can imagine a similar thing being orated a few weeks ago, as we still basked in the glory of our great British summer of sport. The excitement engendered by the Olympic flame burnt away all clouds of despondency amidst an economy still yearning for recovery and the wettest summer on record for a hundred years.
Our medal winning heroes were everywhere, from billboards to stamps. The bruised arms and bodies of Team Sky, from Tour de France crashes, were battle scarred from the first race of a summer in which Britain took on the world and won.A cursory glance across this week’s back pages tells an altogether different story.
The ‘winter of our discontent’, in the sporting world at least, is back with a vengeance. This is more than just an Olympic hangover; this is the sporting world getting its stomach pumped after too much victory champagne. Bruised arms only serve as monuments of cycling’s dark and drug-fuelled past, and ‘all the clouds that loured upon our house’ have returned to waterlog Polish pitches, whose groundsmen clearly lost the roof remote control.
If all this wasn’t enough, Rio Ferdinand’s recent ‘protest’ of not wearing a ‘Kick It Out’ t-shirt has brought football’s ugly side back into the forefront of our minds with the reminder that racism still remains in ‘the beautiful game’. The sight of England’s U21 players being subjected to racist abuse and attacks during their Euro 2013 qualifying match in Serbia only served to compound this bleak image of xenophobia.
The ‘Oxford Bubble’ is, in this sense, something of a blessing in disguise. Whilst the last glowing embers of the Olympic flame have long since cooled, flaming sambucas continue to ignite the celebrations of college sport passion every Wednesday night in Park End.With college league matches, cuppers competitions and blues fixtures now in full swing, forget the lacklustre sporting panorama beyond the ring-road and let sport here in Oxford excite, enthral and exhaust you.
If only to lose a few pounds before the inevitable comfort eating of fifth week blues, make it this week’s goal to get involved. Whether it be participating in cross country or swimming cuppers on Saturday, or simply lacing up your boots for the college 3rd team, be part of the Oxford