An Olympic Encounter

13Aug12

As I boarded a Birmingham bound train in London this afternoon, joining me and my boss Paul on the Virgin Pendolino was a genuine real life Olympian, resplendent in her Team GB tracksuit and lugging three quite sizeable holdalls.

The sight of the homecoming hero led Paul and I to daydream for a moment as to how it must feel to perform on the biggest stage, which naturally spawned speculation as to the sporting discipline which could have propelled us to stardom. It was at this point that I loudly asserted one of the chief observations I’ve made during this epic summer of sport.

You see, as something of a frustrated sportsman myself, I’ve been examining the options which could, potentially, lead to me representing either Britain or Ireland as a 32-year-old in 2016 – and the specific role I highlighted as the easiest in the entire Olympic Games was that of the Handball goalkeeper.

The theory is sort of sound, in my humble, and most likely incorrect, opinion. With teams regularly chalking up over twenty goals per game, it seems somewhat apparent that the goalkeepers can hardly be blamed for poor team performances. While in sports like Football, where a goalkeeping error can be fatal due to the comparative rarity of goals, in Handball, it would seem, you might just be able to get away with being… well… a bit crap.

You already know where this is going, don’t you?

As we exited the train, I eyed up the young athlete once again and managed to clock the name on the accreditation pass that still hung proudly from her neck, resolving to Google our esteemed fellow passenger to discover exactly what she’d been up to in the last couple of weeks.

The name: Laura Innes.

The position: Team GB Women’s Handball Goalkeeper.

You feckin’ IDIOT, Parker.

So, Laura, on the off-chance you’re reading this, and if you heard my ill-informed outburst on the train, I will offer you this crumb of comfort:

While you were representing your country at the biggest show on earth, I sat here, wrote about it, and ate crisps. I think it’s clear who’s the winner here.

You know it is. It really is…

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