IF only moaning was an Olympic sport, Team GB would be odds-on favourites to top the medal table this summer.
Think about it. We would destroy the competition in the synchronised whingeing and no one would come close to us in the high grump. There’d even be a dedicated stadium for it all. It’d probably be built in Sunderland.
Because, while many of us are eagerly anticipating the thrill of the Olympic Games and can’t wait to see Tom Daley break out his Speedos, Usain Bolt break the sound barrier and Paula Radcliffe, inevitably, breakdown in tears, there is a miserable minority out there who seem determined not to join the party.
Not that you’d know it, of course.
Because it’s not like they have spent the last 18 months constantly complaining about the opportunity of having the world’s biggest sporting event in their own back garden at the slightest mention of the dreadfully offensive ‘O’ word or anything relating to it. Oh wait, I’m sorry. Yes they have.
When writer, broadcaster and professional pessimist Charlie Brooker wrote an otherwise agreeable column for the Guardian in April criticising the unfortunate but inevitable corporate-whoredom that rears its ugly, overly-branded head in the lead up to any Games, he couldn’t help but to remind everyone that there’s really no reason to get excited about the Olympics in the first place. After all, he observed, the Olympics is nothing but a bunch people running around and jumping over things, really.
And Brooker was not alone. A quick glance of the reader comments revealed that the feeling seemed pretty mutual among his fellow Guardian-ers.“It’s too corporate!” they cried, probably while tapping away on their iPhones in between sips of their Starbucks’ branded skinny lattés. “You can’t avoid it either,” others droned. “I’ll be glad when it’s all over. Something something, tax payer money. Whinge whinge, blah blah, corporate elitism. Blah blah blah blah blah…” and then I lost interest.
Who knows why these people hate the idea of sport and the concept of fun like they do – although the fact that they choose to read the Guardian might explain it – but if anything, it’s a damning reflection of the miserable mentality that is rampant across our supposedly ‘Great’ Britain.
Sadly, it seems as though a toxic culture of cynicism has slowly seeped its way into the fabric of everyday British life, corroding our concept of community and eating away at our sense of joy.
These are the people who have spent the last few months droning on and on about how they just “don’t care” about the Olympics. Yet, when the time comes in just a few weeks, they will go out of their way to make sure that everyone around them knows exactly just how little they care about the Games, shouting “Look at me! Look how cool and non-conformist I am!”
These are the people who, secretly, would love for something to go wrong during the Games. Who will only watch the opening ceremony so they can tweet their smug satisfaction at every minor malfunction and cowardly snipe at every little detail like the big men and women they are.
They’ll come up with an assortment of minor and easily ignorable reasons why we should think the same as them and it will be painfully transparent to everyone that this has nothing to do with money, corporatism or sport and everything to do with them simply hating that there are people out there who like things they don’t.
And it’s certainly not just sport either. Sadly, it seems as if there are many people who are looking for any excuse to go off on a massive sook about things they don’t like. Today, after BBC Radio 1’s most popular DJ, Chris Moyles, announced he was to step down as presenter of the station’s Breakfast Show, a minority of miserable moaners couldn’t wait to jump at the opportunity to take a proverbial dump on Moyles, his team and the entire radio station. This is despite the fact that if you’re not a fan of Moyles or his show, it is spectacularly easy to avoid him by – and this will come as a shock to some – simply changing the radio station.
This is probably the biggest problem with the cynical nature of our society – the fact that Britons feel the need to rant and rave and bitch and most about even the most trivial and stupid of matters. Whether it’s a radio show, the Olympics, the fact that Andy Murray’s Wimbledon final berth was the lead story on BBC news (despite it being a major and significant British sporting achievement that had signalled the end of a more than 70 year wait), the X-Factor or something equally as unimportant to the overall scheme of life, Britons feel the need to rant and rave about something, anything, everything as if the very existence of these petty little things actually matter in life.
To make matters worse, more often than not, the stuff that Britons love to hate most are so easily ignorable that it is amazing how many people become half as irked by them as they do. Whether it’s Justin Beiber, Adrian Chiles or Jedward who you cannot stand or, like me, you’d rid the world of Apple products, the Apprentice or Radio 4 if given the power, the fact that it is so easy to avoid all of these means that if you truly are getting that riled up about them, you probably could do with revaluating your life’s priorities.
Of course, we live in a society of free speech where anyone is allowed to give their own opinion on any issue, no matter how important or petty. For the most part, a healthy political discourse exists in Britain. There are many voicing legitimate concerns and complaints over issues ranging from health care, education, LGBT rights, equality and class divide. Those voices should never be silenced. If anything, they should be encouraged. But there is a point where genuine complaints about the things that matter stop and instead turn into moaning about the things that don’t. Each and every one of us are guilty of that – except for me, obviously, because I’m magnificent – but in a world where so many of the human population face very real challenges to even survive from day to day, why is it that the land of Britain the Great is so much more guilty of moaning than any other on the planet? Must be the weather.
There comes a point where you must ask yourself; do you want to live your life embracing negativity, finding smug satisfaction in being cynical about the most unimportant of unimportant things and drawing a cheap sense of superiority from that, or do you want to live your life overlooking the trivial and the meaningless factors of British life and focus on the many opportunities for fun and joy celebration that we are presented with each and every year.
The Olympic Games are a celebration. London 2012 will be the biggest party on the planet with virtually every single nation, big and small, invited to join in the fun, play a few games and maybe win a medal or two. It will bring joy to billions across the globe. It will provide a chance for us all to unite under the concept of the British identity by cheering on our men and women and, we hope, to inspire a generation of young people who face a future of economic depression, few opportunities and a country full of grumpy, miserable moaners.
This will be the only chance any of us will ever have to experience and enjoy the greatest sporting event on Earth in our very own country. Will you choose to ignore the opportunity to join the celebration, or will you make the most of it?
The ball’s in your court.