So another World Cup comes to an end for England. We've just lost 4-1 to Germany. Why do we believe it would go any other way? We are shit at sport. Let's just accept it and get on with our lives.
Why do we hope for a win? Hope is a tyrant. Hope causes pain. If we watch our sub-standard national sportsmen and expect them to win, we will be disappointed. We're just not good enough. Over the course of my life, I've seen England at eight World Cups, and we've never done particularly well. Yet from the amount of St George's crosses hanging from plumbers vans and teenagers' bedroom windows, it seems like a foregone conclusion. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe the amount of tacky plastic flags can change the outcome of events playing out thousands of miles away. But I doubt it.
And there is always some disputed reason why England should have gone further. The 'hand of God' incident. Lampard's disallowed goal today. There is always some reason for saying 'we would have won if...' No, we wouldn't, because we're just not good enough.
It's not even limited to football. Frank Bruno was a reasonably good boxer, but he was not world champion material. Tim Henman might have been a good club or county tennis player, but he was never going to win Wimbledon. He never had the heart of a champion. He never managed the straight sets wins of his rivals in the early stages. All his matches were five set marathons. Of course he wasn't going to win. Even if he had the talent, he would have been exhausted, and his opponents, who had won in three sets, had a big advantage if he did reach the later stages of the competition. But this didn't stop the folks on 'Henman Hill' from assuming he would win, if they could just summon up the spirit of St George.
St George. There's a joke. He was a Palestinian who fought for the Romans, never set foot in England, and is also the patron saint of the plague, leprosy and syphilis, as well as places like Malta, Rio, Greece, Russia, Ethiopia, Portugal and Venice. If there was such a thing as a saint, he couldn't possibly be looking after all the places he was saint of simultaneously. But we are supposed to invoke his name and memory, buy the crappy plastic flags and make our nation proud.
Well, not me. Bollocks to the lot of them. They are never going to win and they are going to have to lose without me in future. I just don't have the energy for it any more.