Johnny Wilkinson’s mum was famously doing her shopping at Tesco when he scored the winning drop goal in the final of the Rugby World Cup 2003. I remember that kick like it was yesterday.
Lewis Hamilton’s maiden Grand Prix win was such an occasion of national pride. And I was barely able to watch. Even on TV. You see, I can’t bear to commit myself to the screen just in case something goes wrong.
As a follower of the McLaren camp I have divided loyalties: British pride makes me want Hamilton to win at all costs – but my gut feeling for the team is that it would be best for Alonso to retain his crown just a little longer.
Being beaten by a rookie when you’re the reigning world champion has got to dent your ego a little. And we all know that dented egos accompany miffed drivers. Just look at Raikkonen playing second fiddle to Massa.
This time last year Massa looked like he was just there as Schumacher’s perfect foil. Now he’s really earning his keep despite being on less money than the USD$51m monosyllabic Finn.
This brings me on to another point: again, this time last year, commentators were indulging Raikkonen and criticising McLaren for not giving him a machine to truly showcase his ability. Reliability issues and just a simple old-fashioned lack of race pace at times were an easy curtain to hide behind.
So why is watching McLaren surge back onto form so excruciatingly painful? Well, I’ve never been blessed with much nerve for this sort of thing – minor control-freakish tendencies prevent me from being comfortable watching others compete down to the wire. Despite my incomprehension of football, you’ll find me behind the sofa if a game goes to penalties.
How do I cope? The perfect solution is to install The Boy on the sofa with the remote in hand whilst busying myself with something in the next room. On the pretext of regularly supplying him with lunch/snacks/beer/coffee, I can pop in and get a full round up of the action whilst earning valuable girlfriend brownie points. It’s the best solution I’ve come up with so far – suggestions welcome.