WE’VE been spoilt over recent months, the choices that will face the British public when the candidates are announced for Sports Personality of the Year emphasise that.
Viewers must pick between the country’s first Tour de France winner, the man who ended a 76-year wait for a tennis Grand Slam, a heptathlete who dealt with the pressure of being the ‘face of London
2012’, a distance runner who sent the Olympic Stadium into raptures twice and a wheelchair athlete who won four sensational Paralympic golds.
Even if he inspires Europe to Ryder Cup glory, Rory McIlroy will barely get a look in despite climbing to the top of the world rankings and becoming the dominant force in golf.
A large chunk of the population that usually doesn’t bother with sport has been captivated by these successes.
There are calls to tap into their sudden interest and build on the momentum.
But the true test will be when things don’t go to plan and it isn’t glamorous excitement.
Hopefully they will learn something that those of us who loved sport before this summer know all too well – some of the best memories come from minor occasions.
It doesn’t need to be ‘Super Saturday’ in a magnificent Olympic Stadium or a classic final at Flushing Meadows.
Not many will recall a drab game between a terrible Everton side and Leicester at Filbert Street in December 1997, but it’s one etched in my memory, watching with my godfather as Gary Speed won it
with a last-gasp penalty.
It doesn’t need to be excellence that inspires a generation, the bog standard can be just as valuable.
We all have fond memories from games that few others would be able to recall and it’s important to cherish those as it is to celebrate success at the very highest level.