It was sport by people that we could relate to. There was an immense amount of respect given to these athletes, whose sport is, well a job, and not a job that gives a lot for very little, but one that often gives very little for an immense amount of effort; one that gave deserving reward at the end of a very long and often dark tunnel; and one that gave us hope that we too, in our lives, could find the beacon of hope, behind the layers of struggle.
As the Games came to an end, murmurs about the new football season started to circulate, and before long it was clear that people expected more from their players. They have had it too easy for too long. Some players earning more in a month than many of the British medallists will earn in their entire careers, and not for excelling, or achieving, or even winning, but simply for taking part.
Not only is it their high salaries, but also the general attitude and behaviour of footballers that came under fire. Each and every medallist who stood in front of an imposing BBC cameraman seconds after their victory, or equally defeat, spoke of pride, of sacrifice, of belief, and of gratitude. These people were eternally grateful that they even had the opportunity to grace such a stage, let alone win on it. The fans who cheered them on gave them such heart, and it is a certainty that the Great British medal tally was bolstered by such an incredible home crowd.
For football fans across the country, however, there is a sense of confusion and even of disrespect. They cheer their players on week in week out. They travel the country, even the continent to do so. There is very rarely a winners medal at the end of it, but still they cheer, still they support, and for what? How many premier league footballers will tell of their gratitude to fans this season? I don’t mean in a kind of forced manner either, but rather with emotion and real honesty. How many stories will we hear of drunk, abusive, careless, and offensive players? How many nightclub brawls, and expensive car crashes will there be?
It is simple really; our country now expects more from our sportsmen and women. The bar has been raised. There are question marks about what football players are really worth, and one thing is for sure, that unlike each of our medallists, they are not worth their weight in gold, and worryingly that is not far away from their actual rewards.
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