Stars of Track and Field

Athletics events at Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.

I was part of the Hampden Roar and as a result I can only just about muster a Hampden Whisper. My voice is shot but it was worth it. Five hours of shouting and clapping. I have never been at a sporting event which had such a relentlessly positive atmosphere.

It began with friendly train staff and funny stewards at the stadium. When it started raining on the queue one of the stewards took out his mobile and started playing Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head’ through his megaphone. Our DJ/life coach kept the tunes coming as we shuffled forward.

The system to get in was efficient and straightforward. I saw no anger, no ugliness, no conflict, just a lot of people happy to be there. Every athlete was cheered no matter how they did or where they came from. The particularly showy or successful athletes pushed us further and in turn we pushed them further. It felt like everything sport should be. Everyone respecting the effort and guts involved.

I have actually rarely been surrounded by so many happy people at one time anywhere! There was a real sense of competition – all striving together, bringing one another on as opposed to competitiveness. There were thousands of people present all with vastly different backgrounds, interests, values, passions and even hopes for what will happen on the track. Yet we could all see past that and celebrate one another’s victory.

It seems ludicrous to imagine that the Referendum could be like that. But it’s a shame that it is ludicrous. Would it not be so incredible, so compelling, so world-changing, if Scotland went to the polls with the same enthusiasm, courtesy and generosity as witnessed today? All happy to be involved and affirming of one another. Enjoying the tension of cultures rather than resenting it.

I hope not many of us (whatever way we are planning to vote) are regretting that this vote is even happening. Everyone is talking about politics because for once politics is all about us! I have read so many interesting articles and had so many fascinating conversations that would not have existed without this referendum. Politics should always be more like this and post referendum, post whatever the result is – we should keep the pressure on. We the people, want to be involved, consulted, brought to the table.

It’s been a good thing and if we take even a pinch of the kindness and positivity of the Commonwealth Games into it the Referendum could be a great thing. Let’s celebrate, let’s clap, let’s throw ourselves into it. There is only one significant point of difference with the referendum I want to highlight.

Unlike a day at the Commonwealth, when I cast my vote – I won’t have lost my voice…


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