I know what’s going on. I think I’ve figured it out now. But before I let you in on it, I need to get you up to speed. It’s not going to be a plain sail, so strap yourselves in and let the ole grey matter do the rest. Oh, and feel free to bail out any time you like: I would if I were you.
Ok, let’s start by examining the shape of the world and how we all got to where we are now. Nice easy one to kick off with. Now, according to the laws of chaos, the state of being is seismically affected by and sensitive to its inaugural conditions. In essence, this means that the most miniscule of deviations from an initial source can and does result in monumental disparity at the other end. This becomes increasingly dramatic over a longer passage of time, suggesting that it is almost impossible for a single entity to reproduce itself exactly at any point on the arc of our complex evolution. The chance ratio is mind-boggling, akin to attempting to compute the speed of time or the distances between planets.
There are, however, two notable exceptions to the above. They fly in the face of science, mock the concept of religious zeal and defy all laws of logic. I am, of course, referring to England’s dogged refusal to win at the football or the tennis. EVERY BLOODY TIME! It is utterly exhausting in its sheer inevitability, the outcome of which has no bearing whatsoever on the relative strength of the opposition. We could be playing against eleven veteran garden gnomes, all gaffer-taped together and drenched in baby oil and still suffer humiliating defeat. Perhaps Tim, or Andy, or whoever the next hapless ball-basher we adopt happens to be, invigorated by an adoring mass on the mound and the prospect of washing powder sponsorship, will tease us all the way to the quarter-finals, where he will splay himself over the court in a orgy of grunting, farting and swearing. And lose, quickly, in the grand tradition of his esteemed forebears.
And if all of this isn’t enough, the managers/trainers/players get endlessly wheeled out to dissect every pitiful performance on Sky Sports and the like, thereby justifying their monstrous fees and keeping us glued to the lantern in the fervent hope that ‘we’ shall learn from our mistakes. Which can never happen, right? Because, as we learned earlier, it is impossible. That one flap of the butterfly’s wing could alter history, forever. And we can’t have that. The quiet comfort we have embraced as a nation hangs on the certainty that, come Hell or high water, come rain or shine, we will always be bollocks at football and tennis. Or, as the ad-folk would put it, ‘reassuringly disappointing’.
So then, one down, one to go. Any guesses?