John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Thursday 2 August 2012) Velodrome time

John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Thursday 2 August 2012) Velodrome time

The second Test began at Headingley. Amla was run out for nine – too relaxed, thought Roy, the irony. He drove to Croydon and went to his office, which greeted him blankly. This suited Roy. He looked at the post: crap, crap, crap. He listened to voicemail messages: crap, crap, crap. He switched on his computer and while it booted up communed with his photograph of Kristie, Leila and Lucy. They were framed, frozen, captured, and he was alone and free to look at them without them looking back. They felt very far away.

Roy checked the Hoyland Hill school reunion Facebook page. No one had mentioned him. Relief. Some people had posted contemporary pictures of themselves. The men all looked identical: grey, bald, fat and being cheerful about it, holding bottles of beer. Roy switched the computer off, left the office went to the shops, bought some hoover bags and a Toilet Duck and became drawn to the TVs on display at Currys.

He stood before one of the screens, holding his gut in, a carrier bag dangling from one finger. Other men idled near. Roy deduced that Team GB had won medals at canoeing, which was not the same as rowing, and saw a man called Peter Wilson win a rifle shooting gold. A pair of pink clay pigeons flew into the sky, Wilson fired, reduced the pigeons to dust, folded to his knees, got up again, got a long, long way up, he was as tall as he looked young, and all of this emotion, all of this noise, was released in utter silence before Roy’s eyes.

Roy drove back home to Purley, lay on the sofa, saw cyclist duo Victoria Pendleton and Jess Varnish disqualified in the Olympic Park Velodrome but Chris Hoy and two partners win the men’s team gold. A judo girl called Gemma won a semi final, looked upwards to Heaven and mouthed, “I love you Mum.” An email arrived from Kristie, asking Roy if he would be waiting at the airport when she, Leila and the kids flew in. Roy replied that he would.

All previous instalments of Roy’s Summer of Sport are HERE. Follow John Vane on Twitter.

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Categories: Culture, Roy's Summer of Sport

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