I was going to write a post about how I just don’t get the Commonwealth Games. It’s not an aversion to sport, and it’s not necessarily an aversion to the British Empire (+ Mozambique), or whatever it was that ended up being today’s Commonwealth of Nations. Although I could talk about that in a minute.
No, my real problem with the Commonwealth Games is that they’re just fakey-games. It’s like a counterfeit Olympics. They don’t have the same prestige. They aren’t even based on a geographical area like, say, a European Championship of anything, or even a tournament like the Six Nations. In fact, looking at a map of Commonwealth nations, you may almost as well have pulled them out of a hat.
If you win in the Olympics, you are the best in the world. If a football team wins the European Championships they are the best in Europe. To be the best in the Commonwealth — I just can’t visualise that in my head. If I hear somebody described as a ‘Commonwealth champion’, my head translates it into “Not good enough to be Olympic champion; maybe not even good enough to be European champion.”
Who cares about the Commonwealth anyway? It’s a cheesy point to make, but really, what is the Commonwealth for? Nobody thinks of their nation as being part of the Commonwealth in the same way that they think about being a member of the European Union. Most people probably even forget that the Commonwealth even exists, except during those two weeks every four years when they’re forced to play badminton with each other (in a “friendly” manner, of course) in the name of it. Don’t they just hold boring meetings that aren’t important at all? And that flag seriously needs sorted out. If anybody can think of anything that screams ‘1970s’ more, I wouldn’t like to see it.
Is anybody outside of the Commonwealth even remotely interested in the Commonwealth Games? Will Germans keep tabs on it in the same way as a Brit checks up on the African Cup of Nations? I can’t imagine it, although tell me if I’m wrong. I don’t think many people even in Britain are very interested in the Commonwealth Games. I can’t remember a single thing from the 2002 tournament. The only legacy is a spiffy new stadium for Manchester City.
So why am I going to watch them? Because like all the coolest sporting events, it’s on late at night. We were robbed of some excellent late-night sporting action at this year’s Winter Olympics, unlike the ones at Salt Lake City. If I’m having trouble sleeping at any point while the Commonwealth Games are on (and that is almost an inevitability), I’m afraid Quizmania will have make do without me. Sorry Flash!