Thursday 2 August 2012

Was that a goal?

I was so delighted at being welcomed to Coventry by the nice ladies in the official purple Olympic shirts that I didn't notice the rest of my party explaining to them that, lovely thought and everything, but we don't need welcoming, thanks, because we live here.  Oh yes, so we do.  The stewards got on with welcoming everyone else - the fans who'd travelled from New Zealand and Cameroon, the general fans of women's football, and the rest of us who thought that it would be fun and interesting to go to an Olympic Game.  

The stadium is walking distance - it's the same place we saw the Specials last year, temporarily named the City of Coventry Stadium, as Ricoh weren't going to cough up the cash to be official sponsors.  Their punishment has been to have their name unscrewed from every sign in the place, leaving faint ghosts of clean lettering everywhere.  One tiny "Ricoh" remains, like a fingerprint, on the soap dispenser in a ladies' toilet.

It was hard to choose a team to support, as New Zealand holds happy memories and a good friend with her lovely Kiwi family, whereas Cameroon had nicer outfits. For me, it was more fun to not pick a side and just enjoy the game, particularly as I'm not really sure what a football match is meant to look like.  My highlight:  "official wine", a Brazilian Shiraz in an Olympic-branded bottle.  I was also really impressed by the Cameroon supporters who cheered and applauded both teams throughout, even though they lost.

I wonder what football supporters from around the world have made of Coventry?  Friends who've visited us tend to be pleasantly surprised, maybe because they get edited highlights - here's the Priory ruins, here's the Cathedrals, here's the museum, here's a wonky mediaeval pub, here's a Tudor street, here's a Pizza Express housed in a sixteenth century building with unpredictable floors.  Quietly cut adrift some of the less lovely shopping precincts, and Coventry would make a perfectly nice small town.  I hope our visitors got a chance to look around.  We've got a bit more crime than New Zealand and a bit less scenery than Cameroon, but we're as much part of "Team GB" as London is, and what's more, we have a 6 metre tall Lady Godiva who is currently making her way to London on a massive horsey-cycle thing.  I hope she accidentally treads on Boris when she gets there.

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