This is a big disadvantage when you’re a man, and I’m one all the time. Men are expected to love sport. They’re expected to live it. I loathe it.
This leads to awkward silences when the nice chap on the phone from Mumbai, faithfully following his crib sheet, says ‘It was a great match last night, wasn’t it?’, while I wait for him to fix my internet connection. It limits the banter on those rare occasions I’m allowed out with the boys. And it earns the contempt of my football-mad daughter.
Imagine my delight, then, when I found that the Olympics is going to be on my doorstep next month, almost literally. The time trial and road race cycle events are set to pass one end of my road and, four hours later, return past the other end of it. We will be prisoners for three days, unable to leave our street between 4am and goodness knows when.
I moaned at my friend Dazzle, who hates sport too. But Dazzle is gay, and said that being held prisoner by 100 sweaty men in lycra is his idea of a jolly weekend.
I moaned at my Hungarian neighbour, who can usually be relied upon to express sympathetic outrage at life’s inconveniences. But she has five boys and is glad of something that will get them out of the house without having to hire a bus.
I moaned at my wife, who said that I’d better watch what I say in case the Stasi cart me off for contravening the diktat that we are to embrace the Olympics whole-heartedly.
So I did the only thing I could do, and booked our family holiday for the whole Olympic fortnight. We leave the day before the lycra lock-in begins. And today I realised that I’m missing the most exciting thing to happen in my corner of suburbia since I got chatting to the lady in charge of flowers in Tesco and found that she’s the ex-wife of Gregg Wallace from Masterchef.
At last, the Olympic flame has been kindled in my heart, and it’s too late to rearrange the holiday.