Och, there’s narry a place more dear in me wee heart than the home of the highlands. Glorious Scotland. Kilts and haggis. Whiskey and Robert Burns. The opening ceremony was entertaining enough, but I wish there’d been more unabashed Glaswegian culture. Instead they went for a celebration of the Commonwealth and the spreading of that Common Wealth to the less fortunate. I sent my charity text to UNICEF and everything (How could I say no to the one-two punch of young Obi-Wan Kenobi and the guy from The Last King of Scotland?) so I’m not against the charitable stuff. I just wanted to see more bagpipes and drunk people, really.
I did have a funny thought during the ceremony though. Imagine if Scotland used this occasion to announce their independence? How amazing would that be! The secrecy involved, then the massive impact of a call like that. Plus the punk rock attitude it’d take to do that - the massive one finger salute to Her Royal Majesty (God save her, though). Obviously that wasn’t gonna happen. Especially not at a Games held to celebrate the unity of the Commonwealth nations. But it’s not like the term ‘Commonwealth’ has been entirely literal, now has it? England treated most of these countries like trash for years, now we get together every four years or so to celebrate the oppression. I love the Comm Games, so I’m willing to overlook the centuries of violence and persecution that occurred between the Scottish-English border if Val Adams can bag another gold. And sport and politics are better separate. Still, there’s a referendum in September. Give Scotland to the Scottish, I say.
Other takeaways from the first 24 hours of stuff? I was waiting a long time for Billy Connolly to show up, which he eventually did in a pre-recorded segment. No sightings of Sir Alex Ferguson though. And boy, didn’t the Queen look stroppy when those fellas got stuck with her little message in the baton. Her Majesty was not amused. The triathlon wasn’t worth staying up for, but our cycling team looks red hot. Plus I snuck in some hockey viewing, a little squash and some weightlifting with a bunch of tiny Sri Lankans and Malaysians. How many people watching this stuff have at some point had the thought: ‘Huh, I didn’t know that country was in the Commonwealth?’ Yeah, same here.
Mystery Doc’s Word
Ah man, after enduring the World Cup and the freaky deaky time differences and what not, we've not got the Commonwealth Games ... in Glasgow. Pretty much the same deal except I'm in the land of the Dingo so any Com Games coverage in the media has absolutely no Kiwiana in it ... a shame, for me but what do you expect with Aussies.
So imagine my pleasure waking up to find that we had already won a few medals, is it just me or is one of the first times we've kinda exploded on to the medal table after day 1!? A gold and 2 bronze medals ya say?? Well I'll take that any day of the week let alone a Friday. We've always had gun cyclists so it seems like some sort of medal, especially in the valedrome is a near given and to cap it off .... the sprint team beat England in the gold medal race! England, not much better.
It was a reasonable day 1 all round, obviously with the medals but also the likes of Andrea Hewitt battling away for a solid 4th in the triathlon. We should definitely be proud of that. I like hockey so was pretty pleased to see the Black Sticks men get the bickies over Canada. The Canadians are a tricky crop of hockey players who could trouble a few teams who aren't 100% but the Kiwis will be happy to fight through the tough times and come out with a key win in pool play.
Anyway, it's just awesome seeing a variety of sports and a variety of nations competing. In fact the variety of people, there's the elite athletes who cash checks with their physical talents as well as the athletes who kick a 9-5 and then compete at the Com Games. That's the beauty of it, at a time when there's so much bullshit happening in the world we can unite under the banner of sports ... I mean the Commonwealth, I mean the King, wait there's a Queen aye?
Best of Social Media
Hey Look It's Jason Statham!
Competing at the 1990 Comm Games in Auckland! As a diver! He didn't do very well though:
Kiwi Cycling Team – Things are looking up, up, up. The men’s pursuit team claimed bronze for NZ’s first medal, and soon after we had a gold courtesy of the kiwi sprint team (who kept form after winning the world champs in February). Plus all three kiwi individual sprint cyclists cruised through to the finals tonight. In fact both Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins broke commonwealth records on the way (Aussie Matthew Glaetzer subsequently taking the record himself).
Darcina-Rose Manuel – If you’d never heard of her 24 hours ago you wouldn’t be alone. But this 21 year old Judo exponent bounced back after losing her first bout to win three on the trot and claim the bronze medal over Canadian Jessica Klimkait. Chur.
Mo Farah – One of England’s biggest names, and a hero of London 2012, Mo Farah won’t be seen in Glasgow as an abdominal injury/illness has led him to pull out. Not only is Mo the Olympic 5000m and 10000m champion, but he’s just a really cool guy, and it’s a shame he won’t be there. Having said that, Nick Willis is planning on racing the 5000m, so yeah.
NZ Triathletes – It was hoped that this would be where our first medals came from, but a valiant Andrea Hewitt couldn’t quite hold the pace, despite keeping with the lead pack for most of the race, finishing fourth in the end. The men were more disappointing with Tony Dodds the best of our lot in 10th place in a stacked race.