Follow one crying eye on

A whole new world

What just happened? What is this feeling?

I was quietly doing my crossword, minding my own business whilst Mr J did the heavy lifting of actually watching the footy on TV.

At half-time, we brought in our cold supper, and I started a sudoku – noting with amusement that Mr J had not, on this occasion, nodded off as is his usual practice when watching sport on TV after tea.

With half an eye and one ear, I registered that we had gone to extra time. Now, I know this to be the usual pre-cursor to a penalty shoot out which the Germans will inevitably win. I sigh, and wonder if perhaps it would be preferable to pop out to the shops. It’s always the same…

I may not follow football, but all my life I have ‘watched’ Match of the Day (usually whilst doing something else) and I am quite sure that I have been awake for more of it than Mr J in recent years.  It somehow percolates the brain cells – whilst possibly slowing down my crossword progress. I do, in fact, know most of the Premiership managers’ names (although not necessarily which club is currently paying them), most of the grounds (although in many cases would be unreliable in naming the relevant team or city) and quite a few of the players’ names, especially if they sound a bit mad.  I never recognise these names when I see them written down, only the way the commentators say them. I still think O’ Bam o’yang! is my favourite.

But I digress. Back to the match/sudoku, and it was all getting a bit tense. Extra time was going quickly, and I was worriedly trying to concentrate on the sudoku instead. Then England scored – and Chloe Kelly took her shirt off. Uproar in the room! ‘Now, that’s why I watch women’s football!’ cries Mr J – referring of course to the skill of the goalscorer. (I quietly reflect on the, possibly similar, reasons I have been known to watch men’s rugby.)

Having ignored as much of the earlier part of the match as possible, primarily to avoid jinxing the result – after all, every other important England match I’ve seen has ended without silverware – I was now glued to the screen as the Lionesses strove to keep their oppo away from goal for the last few minutes. 

And, miraculously, there was no last-minute German equaliser, no nail-biting penalty ordeal – and England had apparently ‘brought it home’ which is footballing code for ‘WON’. They won. England had won. The commentators were in bits – how ridiculous they are being so emotional, I said to myself as I covertly wiped the tears from my cheek and hoped Mr J would not ask me to speak.

The estimable Ms Kelly was almost immediately nabbed by a pitch-side interviewer who stuffed a mic in her hand and asked how she felt (or some such in-depth question), to which she responded with a few well-considered words before joining in fulsomely singing Sweet Caroline and running off with the microphone. I think this has to be one of my favourite bits of live telly ever. I don’t care if she wasn’t supposed to take her top off, or if she was supposed to give a seemly post-match interview. She wanted to be with her team-mates celebrating as only they know how (because since 1966 no other England team have won such a match). She returned shortly after and offered to ‘Go again’ – like the first time hadn’t been on live TV. Glorious. Then other Lionesses were given the microphone treatment, only to be jumped from behind by their teammates, and embraced unreservedly. Joyous, joyous scenes.

To later see some of the team hugging Prince William, whatever you may think of the Royals, was another protocol-bashing flourish. Good for them – good for HRH tbf.

However, this has all left me confused. The whole world has changed. I had expected to shrug, turn off the TV, water the plants and move on to the rest of the week as on so many other occasions, like nothing had happened – my British stiff upper lip upbringing (and plenty of practice) prompting me that ‘it’s the taking part that matters’ and other such runners-up clichés. But winning?

Well, I’m a diligent and predictable sort, so I still watered the plants, but it was to the accompaniment of hundreds of excited WhatsApp pings as my network adjusted itself to its newfound unbridled success.

And then, perhaps equally predictably, I came up here to drivel joyously on!

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Happy days! 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿


Follow one crying eye on