Thursday, July 01, 2004

Tiger Tim

Poor Tim Henman. Not only is his holy grail slipping further and further from his grasp after being put on his backside by the Croation carpet layer i predicted 2 weeks ago, but he also has to suffer being stalked every waking Wimbledon fortnight hour by haggard WI rejects.

When all the sports stars get home to their communal house at night young Timmy must take an awful ribbing from the rest of them. Michael Vaughan will be basking in the worship of the loyal Cricketing Barmy Army, Becks; at least until last week was a King among many Football supporting men and Lawrence Dallaglio will recall his own rah, rah Rugger barmy army. Tims fans are like your Mums mad friends who have now taken to sleeping out on the pavement.

The women who are fanatical Henmanites are the women who used to scream at the Beatles and dressed up in tartan for the Bay City Rollers. Then they got all sensible, grew up, got married, had kids and went into hibernation for a few decades. Only emerging from their mid-life slumber having found Tim, and for 2 weeks of every year they turn into the tennis hypnotics, losing all sense of proportion, perspective and self awareness.

They are this ages drunken female football groupies, the girls you see sat in the front row of an England game in a pub are pretenders to their crown.

They relate and latch on to Timmy in this world of fanatical support for British sport because they see him as safe, predictable, lovely. The kind of boy you would want your daughter to bring home. He's even got inoffensive hair. Did i mention he was lovely?

Little signs are carefully constructed out of cut up newspaper letters saying 'Come on Timmy', Hen and Man are coloured onto to seperate sheets of A4 and held up religiously and Tiger appears regularly in their vocabularly.

Red, white and blue bunting is tied to heads, to backs, to feet and into mouths. Flags are chewed regularly. Jesters hats and tennis ball earrings are de riguer. They jump up and down in their Macs and make up little chants about him, their faces twisted in contorted agony as another Henman return hits the net.

And when Wimbledon is over for another year they melt back to their suburban homes, pack away the bunting, finalise the scrapbook and prepare afternoon tea whilst listening to a Daniel O'Donnell CD.

As for poor Tim. Any 30 year old Tennis player would be well within his rights to be a little worried about this obsession, but Tim will never go short on Rhubarb Crumble and chunky Cardigans.

But youve got to give him some credit. He sticks at his game and consistently achieves at least last 8 finishes at Wimbledon. He'd be considered successful if he were a football team. But failure brings heavier hits with each year that passes, and the young Tim that was only a few years away from winning Wimbledon is now peering headlong into the final straight of his career. Its now or never Tiger.

But he'll be back next year. And so will his groupies.