Sunday, August 5, 2012


This morning we watched Glasgow’s own Andy Murray surprisingly demolish the always composed, gracious, classy and number one ranked (longest ever) tennis player in the world from Switzerland, Roger Federer, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Federer commented after the match of Murray, “"He did play very well. He was better, much better than I was... he deserved this.”  The special significance of this arse-whupping (er, victory) was that it happened at home on the occasion of the London 2012 Summer Olympics and just one month after Wimbledon where on this very Centre Court, an ultimately bitterly disappointed and emotional Murray lost to Federer in the Wimbledon final 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. I even saw some newspaper clippings that characterized Murray as a loser and incompetent?

Before we think this Olympic victory too much of a miracle or a fluke, Murray is the fourth ranked player in the world and now has 9-8 won-loss record versus Federer (  Having said that, Murray has never won a Grand Slam Tournament in his career.  But he is young and now has his future solidly in front of him.     

We noted the huge contrast in styles with Murray the scrambler reminding me of a certain cairn terrier I know doing battle against a bigger sleeker, sophisticated greyhound with an even keener prey instinct. I noted one beautiful, absolutely textbook drop volley and several blistering passing shots for winners by Murray.  He was extraordinary this afternoon as he served himself to victory in the final set - with two match ending aces, one for match point and another spectacular final bullet clocked at 131 mph.  God, it was beautiful… the icing on the cake.

There is another story here as Murray understandably and naturally identifies himself as both Scottish and British and proclaims that he is comfortable and proud to wear both shirts. Indeed, the British flag incorporates the saltire of Scotland.  We also need note that Murray admits to some distant English blood and that his Lady Friend is English.  Big deal, though It did not escape the attention of the media that many in the stands were waving Scottish flags and sporting Scottish flag tattoos bringing back memories of an ill-advised Murray joke and retort about England several years ago.  Apparently some feel Andy vacillates back and forth between being Scottish or British as it pleases him though losing Wimbledon made him more acceptable and palatable as a “Brit”.

Hannah Beech, of Time Magazine ( counters, however, by commenting as follows, “A joke here in London goes like this: When Andy Murray wins, he’s British. When he loses he’s a Scot. Tennis, after all, was invented by the English. On Aug. 5, Murray was proudly, indisputably British.” So, we ask - what is Andy now?

Well, he had to go and win the Olympic Gold for the British and then drape himself in the British flag and sing God Save the Queen.  I watched the ceremony on YouTube and he did sing much of the song.  How will that play at home in Glasgow or even at 10 Downing Street who raised the Scottish flag in support of Murray’s drive for the Gold Medal?   Probably OK. In a real reach some journalists and politicos have speculated that a Murray victory either at Wimbledon or at the London Olympics might even seal a successful vote for Scottish Independence. Probably not

All this speculation about Murray’s influence on the upcoming vote (autumn, 2014) for Scottish Independence prompts our opinion.  Despite what Murray may have accomplished in the Olympics, the enthusiasm and drive for Scottish independence appears to be waning as many Scots have come to the conclusion that they have it made by staying right where they are.  They can have it both ways in that they have semi-independence with their own restored Parliament, yet continued support from London. 

There is also an undeniable great affection for the Queen, especially so, as most in Great Britain and Scotland celebrate her Diamond Jubilee.  Even as the greatest egalitarians, Scots still mostly support The Monarchy.  The Royal Family especially since King George IV and Queen Victoria (granddaughter of George III) has demonstrated a great respect and sincere affection for Scotland, witness their continuing sojourns to Balmoral.  And how about Prince William’s attendance and matriculation from Scotland’s oldest university, St Andrews?  And, yes, he fell in love with fellow student Kate Middleton who despite her most recent humble genealogy is reputed to be a descendant of Scotland’s great hero Robert the Bruce though unfortunately, also of the incompetent Edward II of England, who was sent packing “homeward tae think again” by none other than Robert the Bruce after the disastrous English defeat at the Battle of Bannockburn.
Now, while we haven’t seen any corroborating genealogical evidence of this Bruce Connection we are assured by my own New England Historic Genealogical Society that Kate is a distant cousin of America’s first president, George Washington and other famous Americans. This may not prompt any greater affection by the Scots but may be interesting cocktail party banter and probably nothing more.  With yet another finger in the Scottish bridie is Anne, Princess Royal, Patron of the Scottish Rugby Union and apparently one who knows how to belt out Flower of Scotland with the rest of us.  There are other historical connections, some real - some contrived.  It does appear that a lot of this new found affection is a respect for the persons of Kate and William who certainly appear to be the real deal.  We think so as they are bright, responsible, mature, well-educated folks with their heads firmly in the 21st century but with an appreciation and sensitivity for history and Scotland’s place in that domain.

So what does all this have to do with Andy Murray?  Well, absolutely nothing including his tennis victory over Federer.  We, including this writer, are always making connections (or responding to them) as others have done before us.  In this case we can celebrate a courageous victory where the stars and planets were all aligned and a great heroic story is unfolding in the person of one Andy Murray.  Let us not burden him with any more obnoxious prattle.  By the way, Murray commented that he was buoyed up and motivated by the enthusiastic support of the British crowds.  He is today a Scot and British…

Perhaps Andy might consider wearing something other than his orange Adidas sneaks though the folks at Auburn University probably think it OK.  Guess he will be renegotiating his contract with the Royal Bank of Scotland?

Well done, Andy!


Ned Buxton

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