I cannot quite believe I will be missing BBC Sports Personality of the Year tomorrow night, and if I told you the reason … oh spare me the embarrassment.
I’ll give you a clue. My daughter can’t quite believe she is missing the final of X-Factor, but if I tell you that she is a bit happier about the reason, you have one clue.
Facebook friends get another if they remember the time she got onto my Facebook page and updated my status to ‘I really love Hannah Montana’ (which had a big response and forced me into rebuttal mode, followed by an over earnest debate about internet security.) Yes, it’s Miley Cyrus at the O2 and Grace is insisting it is one of those father-daugher bonding moments that Dads cannot resist, whatever the pull of X-Factor for her and Sports Personality for me.
At least this time it is unlikely to make the front of The Guardian, which is what happened when she dragged me (a little more willingly I will confess) to a Britney Spears concert at Wembley. October 10 2000, the day Scotland’s First Minister Donald Dewar was taken ill, shortly before he died. I remember it for that, and also for the fact that half way through Matthew Engel, then of The Guardian, popped up to say he was doing a piece on Britney crowds. The embarrassment in the office the next day was considerable, and even now I get the occasional Britney jibe chucked my way.
Still, it will be nice to visit the Dome, as we used to call it in its unfairly derided days, and reflect on the fact that if we had not gone ahead with it, London might not have what is currently reckoned to be the most successful live music venue in the world (with the possible exception of Simon Cowell’s brain.)
As for Sports Personality, my sons will be authorised to exercise my vote(s). I thought last year that Lewis Hamilton would win, so we voted – a lot – for Chris Hoy, not out of any dislike or lack of respect for Hamilton, but because Hoy is one of the greatest British sportsmen of all time, and his achievement in Beijing was truly outstanding. Clearly lots of other people thought the same, and he duly won.
This year, the same part of my mind that thought Hamilton would win says Jensen Button will do it. Most of the bookies have him around evens. But watch out for Ryan Giggs. When the nominations were first made, you could get 120-1 for Giggs to win it. He is now around the 5-2 mark, and narrowing. Usually it is won by someone who has made an exceptional contribution in the year in question, which puts world champions like Button and David Heye at an advantage. But with so many of the younger viewers probably giving it a miss for X-Factor, the demographics on the Beeb may rise a bit, and that could favour Giggs, and the sense that this is as much an award for his lifetime contribution as for his admittedly brilliant form over the past 12 months.
Interestingly, my Man United supporting, cycling fanatic elder son, who had been planning to vote for Mark Cavendish, has decided Cav can’t win, but Giggs might, so that’s the direction he is going in too. But what do I know, other than that I will be out listening to a lot of screaming girls (I assume) as I await the text message to tell me whether Giggs was on the button.