There was a time (I refer readers to my previous post), when England's elimination from the FIFA World Cup (TM) would have left me devastated. I'm talking genuine trauma. Tears, anger, denial, that feeling like you've been punched in the stomach. Now? Utter indifference. Within twenty minutes I had shrugged it off and gone off to consult cinema listings. (Ignore the terrible reviews of 'Whatever Works' - it's pretty good).
Yet I don't think this change of attitude has come about as a result of our national team's ever lengthier list of not quites, nearlys and nowhere bloody nears. Three moderately successful World Cups followed by an awful one have worn away the blind faith of most people I know, but I know myself to still be capable of donning the blinkers and hoping for, even expecting a positive outcome. Yet I choose not to, at least where sport is concerned. There was a time when I would sit in front of the TV, quietly whispering to a God that I knew full well didn't exist, that if Nick Faldo could make this putt, or Jeremy Bates could somehow win this tie-break, or Peter Schmeichel could save this penalty, or David Bryant could win this end (maybe not that last one), I would happily do his evil bidding for the rest of my days. Am I mixing up God and the Devil there? Not sure.
I suppose my point is that in recent years I've allowed the perspective of which I was always capable to occupy the driving seat more. It's not that there are more important things in life than sport, it's that there is nothing important in life full stop. Some might say I've matured. Perhaps I'm a little more cynical than I used to be. Either way, on some level it saddens me that my emotions are stirred so rarely these days.
In respect of the passing of my youthful exuberance, I will decline to sign off with a typically flippant remark.