As the festive season gets into full swing, the constant stream of parties and celebration can overcome even the most hardened among us. We can be caught up in the whirl of over-indulgence, as everyone expects a piece of our time and the shopping, eating and drinking create a hazy shade of winter that can blind us to the true meaning of Christmas.
Whether we mark Christmas in December or January, it is the same story and celebrations tend to extend long into the weeks either side. Personally speaking, I am already feeling the effects of the festivities. But although I am paying the small price for festive excess, there is little chance of letting up before the New Year bells toll. I am definitely not Ebenezer Scrooge and I intend to make the most of the party season to enjoy time with friends.
Social conditions and financial opportunities contribute to a nation’s success in sports, according to Olympic medalist Milorad Čavić, who has been considering Serbia’s knack for producing top sporting talent. “No one really knows why there is so much talent here but I think a great deal of it has to do with the economic situation,’ the American Serb swimming champion told W!LDRooSTeR.
“Physiologically we are strong, we are tall, but the other side is the mental thing. It is the average man’s desire to break out of their current situation. It is their gateway to a better life. For that reason, if you see some of the places that our best athletes have trained, I think it has given them something that someone from the West would not have had need to bring out.
Tough love drove Serbia’s swimming champ Milorad Čavić to achieve his best, he said. But that same force for good drove a wedge between Čavić and his father, and could keep them apart as Čavić prepares for London 2012. The American-born Serb has told how his father refused to speak to him for three months after Čavic failed to bring home a medal, and that rift could keep him away from the Olympics.
“I don’t mean to insult or spit on my father but he was really, really hard on me,’ said Čavić. “In 2004 I had some trouble with my swimming suit during the semi final of the 100m butterfly. I was ready to win a medal. I thought the bronze was completely realistic. I was leading the first 50m by a long shot. I turned and coming home from the 50m to 60m mark, which is my strongest part of the race, I went from first to last.
Britain has been branded as a country of four seasons in one day. Whatever the truth, I do remember that we had four set seasons in a year. Each was distinct from the other and you could predict what to expect each month. When I was a boy, we painted pictures to mark the start of each season and in autumn we would collect leaves and conkers to decorate our classroom. The times they are a-changin, as the bard famously sang.
No season suits all. Each has its ups and downs, and should be cherished for what it shares. Spring and autumn are my favourites. I feel they have more character, more colour, than the seasons they book-end. Of course, I enjoy the t.shirt joys of summer but I find it quite one-dimensional. While I like the idealised image of crisp white snow and frosty mornings, I hate grey slush on city streets and the inconvenience of bad weather.