Look, I like stereotypes, OK? I'm comfortable with people behaving, almost always badly, in the manner which I have prescribed for them based on the deep well of my prejudices. For example, I am enormously grateful to Messrs. Terry and Ferdinand, frère et frère, for confirming my profound conviction that most 'footie' players are a bunch of knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers with IQs in the minus level. I was even glad, in a weird, masochistic way, to see Andy 'grunt-snuffle' Murray 'Blubbing for Britain', well, the Scottish bit of Britain, anyway, in front of the world's media. The pre-fight brou-ha-ha that precedes every boxing match is, of course, in the finest tradition of the old fairground, 'roll up, roll up' way of getting the punters in. (I believe in these more refined(?) days they call it 'marketing' - yeeees, quite!) But the problem is that one cannot help but suspect that the numbskulls huffin' and puffin' at each other actually believe their own hype. I could run through most professional sports and find further examples of stupidity and greed coupling but it is all too depressing.
Thus, to repeat my title, 'I was shocked, I tell you, shocked' to read yesterday of the outrageous behaviour of Mr. Barry Wiggins. For those of you ill-educated in the farther reaches of the sporting world, let me tell you that Mr. Wiggins is a pedaler. No, no, not a pedlar, he doesn't go around flogging things, well, except subscriptions to SKY TV who sponsor him (well done, Rupe!) No, he's a cyclist and a pretty good one from all accounts. And unlike some of his less than distinguished predecessors he doesn't keep hopping off his bike in order to go and 'shoot up' behind a hedge! No, Mr. Wiggins is clean, he's a winner and, dammit, he's British! So yesterday, during that interminable tour of France that these pedalers insist on doing every year for reasons quite beyond my ken, some unutterable rascals threw tin-tacks on the road and about thirty of the riders had to stop to fix punctures. (LOOK! You are allowed a slight snigger but falling about helpless with laughter is not allowed - this is serious!) Anyway, Mr. Wiggins (I am tempted to refer to him as the Right Honourable Wiggins but that title has been more than somewhat sullied recently), who was leading the race but was being pursued by the current champion who suffered from this sabotage, deliberately slowed down so that his rival could catch up!
I am now in a state of shock. You cannot believe how distressing it is when certain fixed poles in your existence are suddenly moved. Suddenly, you begin to understand that uncertainty principle. For a professional sportsman to actually behave in a sportsmanlike way is an enormous shock. I mean, you can't rely on anyone these days. Truly, the earth moved for me!