A Word In Your Ear - August 19, 2016

Roy Edmonds

Roy Edmonds

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We weren’t too excited at Edmonds Towers about the Rio Olympics. It seemed, like soccer’s World Cup, an expensive international PR exercise, with Third World countries staging events where money could be much better spent.

Why not just keep it in Athens? Heaven knows, the Greeks could do with the income and, given sufficient time, even they might get the job done efficiently.

Then there was all the professionalism; the systematic drug taking among Russian competitors, and the bizarre new additions – women’s boxing? Besides, it seemed wrong including international stars like golfers and tennis players.

But, then, you get drawn in – the amazing talents and joy of young athletes, even of old campaigners and, yes, those millionaire competitors like Andy Murray. Once up and running, so to speak, sport always brings the world closer together.

Although this hasn’t been the ideal Fylde summer, we have also seen and enjoyed much sport.

At Blackpool Cricket Club there were two popular county matches, then a highly successful ladies’ one that heralds the resort’s latest entry into women’s sport.

Up the road, at South Shore Lawn Tennis Club, there were also tournaments that encouraged beginners in the game; while, at Lytham Cricket & Sports Club, we watched groups of youngsters enthusiastically trying out both our English summer sports.

If Greece was the home of athletics, then Britain was truly Great in launching so many of the world’s leading games. It’s something, like our wonderful, widely used language or fair-minded culture, that is both a proud legacy and lasting achievement.

Lord’s, Wimbledon, Twickenham and Wembley are still hallowed locations throughout the world. The games we launched bring joy and mutual respect through healthy pursuits.

Our coast, too, has a great sporting history. There’s no better way than local sport to give youngsters a fine start. We should help it thrive - and all be winners too.

• For Roy’s books visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.