Hello dear readers – it’s that time of year again. Yes the time when otherwise unengaged and uninitiated so-called “fans” will vote for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
So the first hurdle to overcome in this ridiculous charade is how the shortlist is arrived at. Does anyone know how? All I know is that at this time of writing, neither of my two sporting heroes of the year seem to have been mentioned anywhere.
I have no problem with recognizing the names that are being bandied about. Jessica Ennis is a fine athlete and won a brilliant gold medal in Berlin as did Phillipps Idowu. Great stuff, but they are not what you would call personalities.
Andrew Strauss captained the England and Wales Cricket team to an Ashes win – he is hardly mentioned, but can any of us forget the amazing scenes when England won the Ashes in 2005? Not Andrew’s fault that he only had a two year losing cycle to correct.
Then who are the others? David Hayes is a boxer who no-one had ever heard of in the general sporting field until a fight, in Germany, with a very big man. Now he is, apparently, a hero.
Well not in my eyes.
This year there are four huge sporting heroes – and all are pretty big and satisfying personalities. Of my four, one is ineligible for the BBC SPOT thing because he is foreign, but of course in a totally sane world, Valentino Rossi would win without a fight.
Vale may win the Overseas Award – if they have one. If they do and he doesn’t than that will be a travesty of justice because Rossi is now totally acknowledged as the GOAT. That is The Greatest Of All Time. The accolades and awards loaded onto Valentino’s shoulders this year seem unbearably heavy.
From Giacomo Agostini to Wayne Rainey to Kevin Schwantz – they all agree that Rossi is just a bit special, a bit different and a bit of, if they were to be really honest, a bit of a god. Rossi won the title this year, his ninth world title. He has just taken the biscuit really. Won titles in every class he has competed in and in recent years, he has lost and then come back and won and won again.
Valentino is the man.
So outside bikes with engines we look at bikes and men. This season only two men have really cut the mustard. Yes Lance returned, with all his va va voom and multi-million pay-offs to dodge the testers and go to the Tour DownUnder and get the papers writing about him.
He cycled well in the season – and made a lot of friends – but still managed to piss off the core of cycling fans by refusing to come out whole-heartedly on drug-free cycling. But never mind, he did good and got loads of press inches for the sport and when our Brad went up against him in the Tour – well it was fab.
The Tour was already getting column inches due to the Manx Express who was winning sprint after sprint. Then Brad was up there. In the mountains – going pedal for pedal against the world legend that is Lance Armstrong.
Ultimately Brad came in one place behind the American machine, but for cycling fans, this fourth place was a win.
So in the Tour, who is the winner? Our Brad or Marky Mark? It’s a hard call, but the thing is, not only did Mark get his six sprints and beat the best ever British record, but in the season, Mark got Milan-San Remo. A classic race. A first for Britain. (Oh and I forgot to mention that Mark got the Maglia Rosa in the Giro).
Cav is the classiest act this nation has, so boo to the Spot BBC thing because they won’t even list him and poo to most of Britain who don’t realize that they have a national treasure on their hands.
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year will be decided by people who don’t watch much sport and go on headlines.
Congratulations therefore to Jenson Button. But you don’t deserve it. OK – team about to crash out, Ross Brawn comes to the rescue, great car, brilliant start, fairytale and all of that. Great, and in my heart, I love that Jense won and a British team, oh it makes the little heart beat wilder, but the thing is, and this is the thing …
For me, cars ain’t the thing any more. Too much big business, too much Bernie Fucking Ecclestone… I want sports where people really matter and people make the difference.
So for me, there really is only one contender for this SPOTY thing. One man has made a difference to my sporting year. One man has inspired me, and one man makes me leap up off the sofa and yell.
That man is Mark Cavendish.
And he won’t win, probably won’t be short-listed, but he’s my boy. Last year, this year and no doubt in 2010. Cav is our boy.
Read and weep.