Sunday, 12 September 2021

Sporting success. Desert Island Discs. Being equal.

 A British teenager, born in Canada, who moved the UK at age 2, the child of a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, has won the US Open tennis championship in New York. Great success for Britain! Bravo! What does Priti Patel make of that? I guess Emma Raducanu is the right kind of immigrant. 

Oddly enough, Nigel Farage and Piers Morgan have both congratulated her, the first who says nobody wants Romanians for neighbours and the second who called her a softie for pulling out of Wimbledon. 

She said in an interview that she has been most excited to receive a letter from the queen congratulating her on her success. The queen is such a role model she says. So an 18 year old has as her role model a wealthy old lady who has had a life of privilege -  I’m not knocking the queen’s sense of duty; I think she’s always been dedicated to her country and fulfilled her role well but there’s no denying that she has had a life of privilege. 

Mind you, Ms Raducanu has not had an underprivileged life. Her parents both work in finance. Not short of a bob or two. She went to a selective grammar school and she had tennis lessons from age 5. Not exactly a poor working class background then. Rather different from some of the Romanians I have come across selling The Big Issue in Manchester. 

Still, it’s a great achievement for an 18 year old!  Oh, and by the way she has dual nationality: Canadian and British. 

Meanwhile, Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo is back in Manchester. Yesterday he scored two goals for Manchester United - not bad for an “old” player! Yes, at 36 he is old for a football player. How odd is that?! His great age did not prevent him from leaping into the air after scoring each goal. So he seems not be in his decline yet. 

On Desert Island Discs, almost always an excellent programme, this morning the castaway was Michael Holding, Jamaican cricket commentator and former cricketer who played for the West Indies cricket team. I don’t know a lot about cricket and famous cricketers but apparently he was nicknamed "Whispering Death" due to his silent, light-footed run up to the bowling crease. He described growing up in Jamaica and playing cricket as a child in a situation where you had to develop good bowling skills because the only way you got to bat was by bowling out whoever was batting. And all the kids wanted to bat, of course!

He also described what he called “colourism”, in Jamaica. Not exactly racism but definitely prejudice of sorts. His mother’s family disapproved of her marrying his father because he was a very dark-skinned while, while she was paler, probably mixed race somewhere along the way. True racism, however, he only experienced when he came to Britain. He expressed his wish for the day to come when we will all be regarded just as people and not as black, white or any other colour, not as male or female, gay or straight. In July he made an impassioned speech about institutional racism when commentating the Test Match; I think it may have been a moment when rain stopped play and apparently he just made an impromptu 4 minute speech. Here’s a link to his speech.

And finally, since I seem to be going on about regarding everyone equally, here’s a picture of a 9/11 memorial which most of us are unaware of. The person who posted the photo wrote this:

“I did not know this!

The 9/11 Memorial "Tear Drop" sit's directly across from NYC, in Bayonne New Jersey, just the other side of the Statue of Liberty, yet we hear nothing about it. This absolutely beautiful, 100 ft. tall monument was gifted to the people of the United States by the people of Russia in 2006, in memory of all those who lost their lives on that fateful day, September 11, 2001.

The breaking in the cracked facade forms the shape of the two towers. The giant suspended tear drop signifies the tears of the entire world that day.

Maybe it's something that needs to be known, starting today.”

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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