WE SHOULD ALL SUPPORT GLASGOW’S GAMES – FOR SCOTLAND’S BENEFIT
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
There’s nothing quite like a bit of healthy competition to bring out the best in us, eh?
That’s never more evident than in the fields of sport and business, where striving for greater performance can be the difference between gold and silver – or profit and loss.
As rivalry goes, they don’t come much fiercer than the competition between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
So, when the Commonwealth Games start in Glasgow (329 days, four hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds to go at the time of writing) what’s in it for the capital?
After all, didn’t we lose that particular competition waaaay back in 2004 when the Dear Green Place was given the nod over Auld Reekie as Scottish city of choice to pitch for the games?
The reality is that sometimes the fiercest of competition can actually bring out the worst in us. It can blind us to the good points in others and turn friendly rivalry into blood feuds.
That simply mustn’t happen in Edinburgh in the run up to 2014.
Instead of sucking on soor plooms and quietly hoping that Glasgow trips up, we should be wholeheartedly backing our bigger, brassier neighbour and hoping for the most successful games possible.
Remember the cynicism and ‘meh!’ attitude which surrounded the run up to the 2012 Olympics?
Plenty of people were predicting an embarrassing washout which would be widely ignored by everyone north of the Watford Gap. Those premature critics couldn’t have got it more wrong.
This time round it’s Glasgow’s turn to shine and all of us in Scotland can bask in what will hopefully be a distinctly golden glow.
Successes are already mounting up and we’re still 11 months away from the event which will attract 6500 top class athletes and more than a million spectators.
The ticketing process has got off to a flier, with many lessons learned from the painful mistakes made at the London Olympics.
By keeping it simple, Glasgow’s organisers are already winning friends and have taken an important step toward the ambition of delivering a ‘family-friendly, accessible and inclusive games’.
Demand for briefs has already proved impressive with fair-minded Scots won over by an easy-to-understand allocation process, weighted in favour of the ordinary Joe, rather than corporate fat cats. That’s a definite gold medal contender right there.
Elsewhere, all venues being delivered by Glasgow Council are already in use by the public – a hugely impressive feat and thought to be the first time in the world that venues built for a multi-sports event have been publicly available so far in advance. Win-win.
Glasgow Council has also revealed that £300m worth of contracts connected to the games have been awarded to Scottish firms. When it comes to boosting the Scottish economy, that’s a performance well worth a place on the podium.
Let’s not forget, when masses of visitors flock to Glasgow, huge numbers of them will be taking day trips along the M8 and spending their readies in the attractions, shops, pubs, restaurants and hotels of Edinburgh.
There are likely social benefits too. For those with kids the possibility of travelling to a World Cup or the Olympics might be a pipe dream. But 2014 is a real chance for parents to introduce their children to the spine-tingling, up-close-and-personal experience of a truly global sporting event.
Young Scots should be inspired by the excitement the games and may be encouraged to take up a new sport and embrace a healthier lifestyle, a potential antidote to the relentless reports and statistics about our chubby children and tubby teens?
Might it even be the impetus for a new pipeline of sporting talent to rejuvenate our national football team and create the Andy Murrays of the future?
Then there are the intangible benefits. If it was possible to give out medals for improved national pride, the feel good factor, community spirit and admiration from abroad, then London 2012 would have claimed gold.
Now that the Queen’s Baton Relay is under way, those same benefits are there to be grasped again, but only if the country comes fully together behind Glasgow 2014 and makes them Scotland’s games, untainted by geographic differences.
Sometimes you have to put pride aside and tip your hat to a more deserving winner, no matter how deep and wide the history of the rivalry involved.
Difficult though it might be to say out loud, the early signs suggest that when it comes to organising the games, Glasgow really is miles better.
Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood Partnership, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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