Let me just say this before you call me a dick: I’m a dick. Moving on…
About a decade ago I started noticing that England’s Tim Henman was Britain’s best chance to win Wimbledon, and despite not being the most gifted tennis player in the workd, Henman had a a lot of fight in him and always saved his best for Wimbledon. Additionally, he seemed to be the perfect British chap to win Wimbledon- he was stately, hard-working and from a good family. Henman never won Wimbledon, no Brit has since Fred Perry in 1936, but Henman certainly got their hopes up a few times.
For years Henman’s failure to win Wimbledon absolutely delighted me. When I told my English friend Tim about this guilty secret pleasure of mine, he laughed and said, “You are such a dick.”. Sure he was right, but I was able to convince him, rather quickly I might add, to join in my laughter regarding England’s annual Wimbledon disappointment.
Well, now Andy Murray has advanced to the Wimbledon finals, which means it’s Dick Season again for me and I invite all of you to join me in some petty pointing-and-laughing at England’s misfortune over a kid’s game. And as a hetero dude, I also invite you to not to take out of context my line about this being “Dick Season again for me”. Thanks.
The following reasons are why I love cheering against the British at Wimbledon.
1. Because they are SUCH wussies about it.
If there is one thing the English love doing it’s going over the top with pomp and circumstance to remind you that they have great traditions in England, which proves England is so awesome. Wimbledon is a sterling example of this: they wear all white and play it on grass, they bow to the Queen after their matches, they serve their own Wimbledon signature drink- the Pimm’s Cup which is almost the wussiest drink possible, the world stops to watch them for their relished fortnight and they really schmaltz it up for the whole world to see.
2. England gets their hopes up
Henman was never seeded very highly and he always seemed to play past his seeding, thereby giving hope to the English faithful (notice I didn’t call them the English logical, or the English objectively practical).
Once Henman would advance to the quaterfinals they’d get all giddy and all rush to Henman Hill (which they decided to call a random hill outback, thereby making even more tradition and pomp) to watch him on the jumbotron. England would hunker down and get as English as possible- drinking excessively, crowds chanting, wearing the union jack and/or English soccer jerseys, exaggerating their accents while they hope Henman wins it for “Engerlund!”, and mustering up as much collective English chi as possible in an effort to help Henman fend off a foreign-born savage.
Then Henman would predictably get humiliated and I’d laugh again.
3. England forgets they suck at sports
A buddy of mine loves golf and everything about it. He loves the tradition of it, the gentlemanly aspect, the lame-o clothes, telling his buddies- “I’ve got a round of golf to play”, he loves taking a few practice swings in the middle of his sentence wherever he’s standing up and he loves being thought of as a golfer.
And that’s precisely why it makes me giggle like a kindergartener when I see how bad he actually is at golf. I mean he totally sucks. I’ve played golf about 20 times in my life and I know I could grab a set of clubs right now and beat him if I absolutely had to.
And England is the same way. When you picture all the top soccer nations in the world you think of Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Spain, France, England and a few others. The funny thing is that all of those countries laugh at England’s soccer team, they’ve never won a European championship and they’ve won the World Cup only once- and that was in 1966, on a goal that is still disputed to this day. Every team listed above has won the World Cup at least once since 1966 with Brazil and Germany combining for 5 wins.
Even though they’ve had far less success than many other nations, one takes soccer more seriously than the English- and that’s why their losing is so funny.
4. Someone else goes home with their girl: Watching a foreigner walk off with England’s tradition-soaked prizes
So England spends all this time wowing us with their pageantry and imperial opulance and offers the world a chance to come compete with them, perchance to win and somehow attain an ephemeral piece of all that English-made glory.
Then tradition takes over, England gets laughed off Center Court and a foreigner walks off with the trophy intended for an Englishman.
Meanwhile the English people have to feign surprise that their athlete just lost on a global stage, and really, THAT is England’s truest sports tradition. Welcoming home their vanquished fighter with a pat on the back that says, “We forgive you and salute your effort. At least you’re more proper and your country has more pompous traditions.”
It has become a tradition every bit as English as drunkenly insulting the French.