England Euro 2012: Growing Pains
My eleven year old son is seriously excited about Euro 2012. Over the last week I’ve watched with growing nostalgia as he’s drawn up his own tournament planner, learned all the groups off by heart, counted down the days to the opening game and got inappropriately excited about Poland v Greece. In short he’s done all the things that I did ahead of Spain ’82 and Mexico ’86.
Now that the tournament is underway he’s following the normal course of events for an obsessed England fan by avidly soaking up every morsel of news emanating from the England camp, agonising over every twinge , tweak and soft tissue spasm as well as finding ways to convince himself that England have every chance of a strong run all the way to the final.
For myself I’m not sure whether to be envious of his blissfully naive optimism or more cognisant of my parental duties which should probably involve sitting him down and explaining as compassionately as possible that we’re about to see the following:
1. A scrappy loss against France.
2. A frustrating draw against Sweden.
3. A nail-biting 1-0 win against Ukraine to secure 2nd place in the group.
4. A plucky performance against Spain in the 1/4 finals with an agonising loss either on penalties or as a result of a massive piece of bad luck.
I know all of this not because I’m an astute pundit but because, overwhelmingly, the weight of historical fact is behind me and all I can do is watch on with a sense of pride as he embarks on his own England roller-coaster ride. Tickets are free but the emotional cost is sustained and unquantifiable.