The Cynical British attitude towards sports and life in general is one of my biggest frustrations.
Generally in this country I find that we are consumed by the word "no" and in everyday life I witness people take visible enjoyment from obsessing over the half empty glass that is their life; the weather, the government, their job and more relevant to me the state of rugby league and sport in general.
I am the ultimate sceptic. I'm cynical and my glass has mostly been a little empty even when it's close to over-flowing. I am unsure how this came to pass and why in this country we can extract with surgical precision any negativity from a potentially positive situation.
This has never been more visible than in the world of sport and every weekend we see a collective uprising based upon talking about the negative aspects of a game; the referee, a missed tackle, the poor weather, empty seats, mistakes and controversy.
The Olympics is the perfect example of this mindset, in that a security glitch has dominated the coverage of the build up to the games. I am unsure if we are naturally drawn to thinking and talking in these terms, or whether we find it suitable material for conversation having been influenced by the occasionally acidic content of the British press.
Which ever way round it is, we are at times a nation hooked on doom and gloom. Don't get me wrong being this way has many upsides as well. It snuffs out corruption and increases accountability but in sporting terms I honestly believe it's one of the main factors that has held us back within sports in some instances.
I am a big believer in the laws of attraction and by constantly talking about sports in negative terms we inevitably are drawn to a negative outcome. Take England's football team and penalty shootouts as an example. There is an under current all the way through tournaments they compete in that is based around "not losing again" in a penalty shootout. The negative talk of the press, public and players inevitably gravitates the actions of the players towards loss and failure which has proved to be the case.
Another example closer to my heart (to be precise a dagger through it) would be our losses in five consecutive Grand Finals. We have had to deal with constantly being talked about in negative terms to the point that preparation in the public eye has always been focused on "not losing again". It's the same as "not missing a penalty again" and in preparing to avoid loss we have been attracted to it, not consciously but subconsciously. Trying not to lose and trying to win are the same in principal but the mindset is completely different.
Are we as a nation obsessed with losing? Do we prefer the endorphin rush of correctly predicting someone's demise rather than championing people in the ascendency? The same applies for the actual games as we constantly discuss clubs losing money. I am as guilty as anyone of this but maybe we should look at talking about clubs making more money than they currently do. Talking and thinking in a positive way isn't enough but thoughts dictate and direct your actions, so it's worth a try isn't it.
Not everyone has a negative outlook on things though. Many people have a positive outlook and most maintain a healthy balance of scepticism and optimism, but if you had to associate a weather forecast to our attitude as a nation, it would be overcast with intermittent rays of sunshine.
We could do to step out from under the clouds, speak about the positive things we have to offer, shelve scepticism and cynicism and give the flip side a chance. Sport is and always will be part of the intermittent sunshine that illuminates my life.
Talking of illumination, the Olympic torch is lit, athletes are ready and I cannot wait for the whole Olympic experience . It's amazing to think that somewhere in the country a child with little or no interest in one of the Olympic disciplines will have their imagination stimulated and ignited by watching the 2012 games. Without doubt one of these children will go onto win a medal in future games.
The process of inspiration and the journey it kick starts fascinates me. It's something very close to my heart as I watched, as much as it won't please the Saints fans to read this, Wigan dominate the Challenge Cup in the late '80s and early '90s. I was inspired by the intensity of atmosphere and tradition of this game. I didn't know how, or if I could, but I wanted to play in that game in front of those crowds.
In all honesty the first cup final I remember was the '86 Halifax win and then '87 Wigan game. Eighteen years later I was there, never knowingly committing myself to doing it, but sacrificing so much on reflection to allow me to get there. That same process of inspiration and journey towards a dream happened for me and it will be triggered for some child in the UK during the Olympics and also at this year's Challenge Cup final. Sport isn't for cynical adults, it's a luxury for us, it's for the children, and the inspiration of them has to be the lasting legacy from any major sporting event.