A year ago, I had a Gold Medal in London 2012 scepticism. Too much money, there’s a recession on, who wants to pay to see a load of young people running around and throwing stuff aka their hobbies?
But my wife ignored me. She’d set the alarm clock for 6am and get online for a couple of hours before she had to go to work. Anything to get hold of some tickets for the Olympics.
We’d decided then that, should she be lucky enough, all five of us would go if we secured a daytime session, but only three if she landed something in the evening because we reasoned the youngest, aged four, would find the experience too exhausting to last the day.
This meant that one of the parents would have to stay behind to do the babysitting.
At the time, it seemed academic. Millions upon millions of fans tried to get tickets and, as we know, unless you were a fat cat friend of a sponsor, millions and millions failed.
But my wife was lucky, securing three tickets for the evening Athletics on Day 10 at £50 apiece. Unfortunately, me and the youngest weren’t.
Still – at the time- I wasn’t bothered.
“it’s all hype, a distraction from the reality of life,” I whinged on, giving that other miserable Manc, Morrissey, a run for his money.
But, oh, how I’m eating my words.
It has been sensational, from start to not-yet-finish. The triumphs, the tears, the tears that go with the triumphs. Medal after medal, gold after gold, drop after drop of sweat and lactic acid.
It reached fever pitch on Super Saturday and Supersonic Sunday, with Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah stealing our hearts and destroying our vocal cords, climaxing with that lightning victory of the imperious Usain Bolt.
“I can’t believe we’re actually going to the Olympics tomorrow,” my wife said, as we clinked glasses on Sunday night.
“No. I. Can’t. Either,” I responded. Then…”Listen, I know how much you miss your youngest when you’re at work. Why not spend the day with him tomorrow (Monday). I’ll take the oldest two to the Olympics.”
I didn’t expect a response and I didn’t get one.
And so it came to pass that me and the youngest waved his mum, brother and sister off to the train station to get to the Olympic Village, while he and I toddled off to a soft play centre with a little buddy of his.
We didn’t miss much (as you can see from the photographic record of the day, below) – just the greatest experience my wife and two oldest kids had ever had in their lives, which included seeing Team GB captain Dai Green come fourth in the 400m Hurdles – and Usain Bolt collecting his 100m Gold Medal (that’s him, the yellow dot in the centre of the penultimate bottom-right photo).
Still, there’ll always be a next time. If I live to be 150!