Optimism gone mad?

What is it about the English that creates this out of character flamboyance and optimism before major sporting tournaments, like the world cup, Wimbledon even?  Most of the time our media is full of gloom and doom (it will return for the Budget) predicting the end of the world as we know it.  We only seem to be ‘happy’ contemplating one disaster after another.  When the weather is good the prediction is either that it’ll be so sunny we’ll all die of skin cancer, or it won’t rain again ’til next June, or, of course,’ it won’t last’.  There is rarely any positive outcome predicted from a particular event.

Why is it then that, like Nelson, (the whole of) England expects the football team to do well and bring home the cup?  On the basis of most of their games I wouldn’t expect them to do particularly well in the FA cup.  Perhaps it’s similar to the unfathomable optimism of anyone who does The Lottery – the chances of winning are so small it is difficult to understand why so much is ‘invested’ in it.  Perhaps it’s to do with our support for the underdog?  It must be to do with our sense of humour – well I think it’s funny.

A good run in the cup is supposed to be good for the economy – Bookies and pubs do well and perhaps women go shopping while the husband is distracted?  What happens in the aftermath of disappointment?  Like bankers, the overpaid stars return to their lucrative pastimes and everyone can concentrate on the mess we are likely to make of the Olympics and on the possible miracle that Fabio will perform in four years time.  Perhaps they’ll do well in the earlier European competition (Eurovision needs a bit of a boost).

And, while England are still in the world cup, I think it’s perfectly acceptable for people to take time off work to watch the matches – provided they’ve booked it as holiday.