This is the summer of the Lionesses. I doubt that the pick-and-mix assortment of the Commonwealth Games will outdo the mass audiences who relished England’s first major international football victory since Bobby Moore’s team won the world cup back in 1966. For sure, there was some specular batting by Bairstow in the test matches, but pink, white or red — there are so many different colours of cricket ball these days — it is impossible to tell what really counts.
It mattered of course, and may even have been decisive, that the England women won the Euros on home soil, outdoing the penalty shoot-out defeat of their male counterparts at Wembley last year. The BBC also marshalled its unmatched national resources to push the women’s championship. But the team won over the nation with modesty and team spirit, which also seemed to hark back to the lost era of the 1960s. Many friends told me that the best thing about the women’s competition was the lack of histrionics, even hysterics. The women did not repeatedly pretend they needed to be medi-vacced to A&E in the hope of getting a penalty or indulge in orgiastic celebrations every time they scored a goal: They know that such behaviour is just silly and showing-off.
The temporary release from the over-rewarded narcissism of men’s top-level professional sport was welcome. Perhaps it could spread to other parts of public life and do us all a favour by degrading the male dominance of our culture which stretches from perennial violence to malign strong men such as Putin, Xi, Orban, Maduro and Modi.