To quote many a good cooking programme, here’s something I made earlier. About a year and a half earlier to be precise. The article ran in Sport Magazine’s November ’09 online edition.
. . .
SPOTY Lewis Hamilton
The race is not for the talented, but for the determined. They sound like the words of Tony Robbins but are in fact my very own, and no, my motivational DVD won’t be in the stores by Christmas. And though I’ve been telling that little line to all who’ll listen, I’ve have now added the name of Lewis Hamilton to my motivational gambit.
Now here’s a fella with the kind of complexion that would leave L’Oreal in no doubt they he was worth it, but this Sunday, what I’d love to see is Hamilton leaving the Liverpool Echo Arena with a big fat SPOTY. Now in truth, my opinion the Sports Personality of the Year
Up until recently this award has been on par with my appreciation of Holby City, in that while hordes of people had been watching it for years, it has always left me wandering why I should really care at all. This year however is different. Different because what we appear to have on our hands is a fight for what some silently long for this country to be vs. the epitome of what it might just become. You know, the image of Gotham, where kids drive matt black mopeds, the Public Enemy logo emblazons the clouds, and where Fight the Power can be heard from Boomboxes up and down the land. Either that, or a place where the ‘average’ man woman and child can envisage a life without limitation. Elvis may have been a hero to most, but he’s not a blip on the consciousness of a generation less familiar with his brand of jump suit laden rock ‘n’ roll, but ultimately more familiar personal demons and glass ceilings.
But worry not Mr & Mrs Middle England, you’ve nothing to fear from our Lewis. Or have you? I mean, this is not a man on the fringes of society, not by any means. What he is though, is a young man prepared for the pitfalls of what is one of the most fiercely contested sports, both on and off the track. A young man who had a dream, but through toil and strife made that impossible dream a reality. It’s fairytale on paper, which is probably why it has spawned enough biographies to fill large sections of all good bookstores, and it’s a reality many can almost taste and touch for themselves.
Just recently, Mr Old Labour himself, John Prescott had been up on the soapbox investigating the English class system, knocking on council estate doors, pushing open stately manor gates, meeting with ‘Lords, Ladies, Chav’s and Pikeys’ in an attempt to get to the bottom of the British class divide. If he’d visited Computer Blogsville however, Johnny could’ve saved himself hundreds on overpriced petrol and still have found the Clash of the Classes he’d been looking for. For the mere costs of some registration time, the online pseudonym will set you free. YouTube will set you even freer still, get more honesty from MadMax450 than you’re ever likely to get from Max Coleman with two kids and a cat named Chloe from Basingstoke.
‘Aloof and manipulative’ said one paper, while, hold on… ‘aloof and manipulative’ said MadMax450. In fact, I’ve probably come across more cut and paste anecdotes on Hamilton’s character than a classroom of Wikipedia inspired essays, so let me take a little time to say something reflective of every [real] person I’ve met recently: ‘Lewis Hamilton is not only savvy, astute, but utterly inspirational’. Aren’t those words you hate to hear being used to describe a sportsman? Probably.
So what is it exactly that has struck a cacophonic chord with bloggers and columnists alike? Well I’ve learnt that he smiles too much, he doesn’t smile enough, his teeth are white when he does smile, he’s too aggressive, he’s too placid, his dad his too prominent, and his girlfriend is just far too pretty.
Despite those list of serious grievances, the real gripe I feel so many have with him is that Hamilton came to win. Not to finish second, or be the heroic nearly man that we can then rub on the head, muttering ‘there there’ as if he’d just scraped his knee in the playground. He wasn’t meant win, and indeed had no divine right to win, but none the less believed in his divine talent to do so. We live in a time where all things been normal, The Winners win like they’re supposed to, and at the very worst they just cause the collapse of banking systems. The rest of us, if we really really want it, and have got the stones to impress Mr. Cowell, might aim as high as winning X-Factor. In fact, the after he claimed the title, one enlightened Stevanage-ite pointed out that he hadn’t even done that.
When announced as the second driver for McLaren, Hamilton was seen by some as a mere gimmick - a marketable force that was there to please the sponsors who would surely love the sight of a little black boy driving a car round the track with a smile on his face. A young lad just happy to be there, to have got his shot at the big time, and who would be just so, so grateful for it. There were also many who thought that Ron Dennis’s choice of driver was surely going to blow up in his face big time.
Two years down the line and he’s more than just a driving force, or marketing force. In fact he’s now more of a tour de force, not only blowing away the cobwebs of F1, but also redefining how big a mountain has to be before it’s considered immoveable.
It’s this supposed arrogance that has been banded around like an oversized gold-plated chain and hang round it his neck, yet no-one has yet to catch Lewis because as we’ve come to notice recently, Lewis is a little bit too quick. Besides which, he hasn’t come here for chains, he’s entered the stage with a singular aim to be the best, and to be the best for a very long time
On these shores, an arrogant man is the man openly states what they’ve come for even before they’ve had a chance to rummage through the cupboards. The kind of man that points to the bleachers in a manner that says ‘Row 10, and that dude with the popcorn better duck.’ He had no right to want to a World Champion but that was exactly what he demanded of himself. He wants to be known as one of greats of his sport, because let’s face it, a poor boy from a council estate isn’t supposed to want such things, let alone believe that open day he’ll get them. What he should want is loadsamoney, oh, and a fast car. Well the car’s a given, but the drive to ‘be the best’ might just be considered as having ideas above your station.
The Lewis Hamilton’s of this world aren’t supposed to win, so I want to see him win everything. And if that means a SPOTY along the way, then that will do just fine.