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Sporting Life

Clan Mann are keen on our sport. We all love to compete and we all hate to lose, even if it's Dad v. William (13) at whiff-whaff. We're all/ have alledgedly been hockey players, so last weekend we had our day at the Olympics watching poor India lose to Korea and the fabulous Dutch beat Germany. Despite the weather we had a fantastic time, and it's even inspired me to enter next year's Bath half marathon (seriously!). I didn't even really have a chance to look at the planting, which several of our suppliers had been involved with and which I'd originally intended to blog about. I don't want to add my six pennysworth to all the increasingly tired journalistic cliches about the Games, but, as sport always does, they have provided some really useful lessons with a wider resonance. Some of them children and grownups would do well to remember, and although this blog is usually about conservation / gardening issues I'm not sure it's too much of a digression to mention a few... 1. What I deserve I earn: tattoo on Louis Smith, GB gymnast. The lack of entitlement athletes feel is a breath of fresh air, and should be welcomed - and welcomed quite apart from any political baggage it might be associated with. It's a credo many others would also do well to remember. 2. Understand your limitations. I watched the exquisite David Rudisha win possibly the greatest 800 metres race ever, with the plucky Brit coming in last. He was happy though; he'd run a PB and was just pleased to be there. He's a young kid and will do better; I'm sure he hated losing but he knew how to learn from it. 3. Life is "elitist". Like sport, it has winners and losers, and you can obviously drastically shorten children's odds of doing well by preparing them well for the challenges ahead. According to The Guardian, you are 8 times more likely to win a Gold Medal if you went to private school. That's as scandalous as it is unsurprising. 4. Gold not Dollars. We need alternative aspirations for the next generation. 5. Politics are important. They get everywhere and, as usual, that includes sport (and conservation!). You can't ignore them. 6. We can do things well. There is a sense of pride and community engendered by our success at and staging of the Games, which you can only hope will pervade other aspects of our public life with a new sense of optimism and confidence.