Island Life   

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Hope and despair

by Keith Le Cheminant

It was great while it lasted but as usual, the old mistress called Despair has won again.

England are knocked out of the World Cup and the whole population seeks to pin its hopes once again on something or other. 

That is just the way it is, especially in Sport. It doesn’t take long before we start hanging our hopes on the success of the team or players that we follow. Our heart and soul is totally abandoned to the cause. That fickle old mistress called Hope once again starts to flirt with us. Will she hold sway this time? 

It seems to me that we take so long to learn that the only mistress that is reliable is the one who calls herself Despair. If it is necessary at all to trust anything fickle, then certainly Miss Despair is the most faithful one of all. 

For example, when Michael Owen put England ahead against Brazil last week, I briefly allowed myself to dream about England winning. After all, they had only conceded one goal in the tournament and surely not even Brazil could beat us now! 

Mistress Hope was beginning to flirt with me.  But only for a short while. 

Just in time, I remembered that since 1966, England always lose. We never win.

We are bound to concede two goals later in the game. Brazil always beat England in the World Cup. 

Mistress Despair was giving me comfort. 

Thank goodness too. Brazil did just as she had promised while Mistress Hope had been momentarily sent packing …… at least until the next time she came whispering sweet nothings in my ear. 

As John Cleese famously said in the film Clockwise;

Despair I can cope with; it’s hope I can’t stand. 

That is the way it is, though thankfully, only in Sport.

Keith Le Cheminant

Summer 2002

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