Several years ago I read Roger Blacks autobiography (title same as this post). I dont have the book to quote directly from but the story behind the title goes something like this...
We were in the departures lounge of airport going to the World Athletics Champs. Across the hall I spotted the singer Van Morrison who I was a huge fan of.
I went over to him, introduced myself and said what a fan I was, I even had one of his albums in my Walkman at that time. He asked what I was doing there and I explained I was going to the xx champs with the GB team. I pointed out Sally Gunnell across the hall drinking coffee, and also Linford Christie sitting nearby.
Unimpressed, Van said to me 'athletics? Thats running and jumping, right?'
I replied 'err, yeah, thats right'
to which Van Morrison said.....
'how long's the course?'
The first reaction of most people like me (and, as you are reading this blog, probably you too) would be one of incredulity that someone would have such poor knowledge and understanding of sport and world leading athletes.
But the story also reveals the fact that a great number of people have zero interest in athletics or even sport in general.
Whilst the London Olympics is a massive deal to most of us involved in sport, and has been building up for what seems like at least 10 years (if you go back to the time when London was just one of the hopefuls), the majority of the population will not actually watch it over and above what they see on the daily news programmes.
example - When I asked my Mrs to press 'record' for the Usain Bolt program last week - she asked me who Usain Bolt was.
I don't think I have any huge point to make here. I'm not saying those people are wrong to have no interest in sport, nor am I suggesting the Olympics are a waste of money or owt like that. In fact, if we are ever to reverse the playstation/fastfood/sedentary lifestyle trend of our youngsters then a home Olympics, World cup, and similar world-scale events, along with TDF winners and approachable, media friendly footballers and are needed here to kickstart the imagination.