Feature

United Kingdom: Why tears don’t belong in sports

Another sports victory, another sportsman crying his eyes out on camera.

Robert CramptonThe Times

Another sports victory, another sportsman crying his eyes out on camera, said Robert Crampton. This week we saw José María Olazábal break down and sob at the thought of how proud his fellow Spaniard, the late golf legend Seve Ballesteros, would have been at Europe’s Ryder Cup win. “Some might say you wouldn’t expect much else from a Mediterranean with a girl’s name.” But plenty of Brits now routinely weep after their events. “Up skips the athlete to the podium, or trudges to the post-match microphone, and yes, there goes the bottom lip, wobble wobble.” Earlier this year, Scottish tennis player Andy Murray bawled during Wimbledon, and more than a third of British Olympic winners cried while accepting their medals. “As a nation, we were much blubbier than both the Americans and the Chinese.” Nowadays, of course, the conventional wisdom holds that all this emoting is far better for us than the old custom of keeping a stiff upper lip. But “repressing emotions isn’t always a bad thing.” Nobody wants to see a temper tantrum, for example. And while “self-pity isn’t as destructive as anger,” it’s still “best kept under wraps.”

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