The Great British Summer PastimePosted: 27 June 2011
As June approaches, the minds of the Great British public inevitably turn to a concentrated selection of topics; balmy summer afternoons, strawberries and cream and the sound of racquet striking ball… yes, you’ve guessed it – Wimbledon. For two weeks, the eyes of the nation become fixed on south-west London as once again, the (arguably) most famous and most prestigious tennis tournament gets under way.
Our house is no exception. My mum and brother are huge fans of Wimbledon and sit for hours watching the matches, or discussing the players at mealtimes; bemoaning, along with the rest of the country, as each British player gets knocked out. It doesn’t matter where we happen to be at the time. I have many memories of holiday cottages in the Lake District or Yorkshire, lying slumped in a chair or desperately trying to otherwise distract myself from the boredom which inevitably descends on me at this time of year.
As you may by now have guessed, I am not a Wimbledon fan. Watching a tennis match is, for me, just slightly less entertaining than watching paint dry. However, the sheer irony of finding myself writing a blog post about it is just as perversely entertaining as was listening to the unearthly and distinctly parrot-like grunts of Maria Sharapova echoing through the dining room wall this afternoon.
I always thought that it was also so wonderfully ironic that a nation of people who most of the year couldn’t give a monkey’s uncle about tennis suddenly become its most avid fans; at least, for the space of two weeks. A nation which forgoes its eternal dislike of British summer weather to line up in the pouring rain, just to see a match. That is, until one of the Williams sisters has collected the trophy and we all go back to lavishing all our sporting attentions on football (another of my favourite subjects).
However in its defence, Wimbledon is about as British as it gets. I might roll my eyes at the hype, the predictability and the repetitiveness of it all, but even the sceptic in me has to grudgingly admit that without our beloved tennis tournament, the great British summer would just not be the same.