Patriotism in not enough

 

Many years ago at school I learned the quote “Patriotism is not enough” and just recently it once again struck me as being a very good one

The words of the British nurse Edith Cavell, who saved the lives of soldiers from both sides during the First World War and was subsequently shot by a German firing squad for treason, have stayed with me for a long time and, as I was pondering my trip to the Olympics today, seemed very apt

As a journalist it’s pretty important to research your subject before you head off to the biggest event you’ll ever cover. No-one is going to suffer too badly if I miss-spell a rider or horse’s name (by the way, did you know that William Fox-Pitt's full name is actually William Speed Lane Fox-Pitt). Luckily, as I work for myself and can’t get fired, (I’m talking about from a job, not as in firing squad), I can write pretty much what I want

Which is when the quote popped into my head

I love Australian eventing riders; I’m privileged to know many of them competing in Rio quite well and have covered their journey to this huge event in the past few years. However in the past couple of years I’ve been spending more time in the UK, which actually is where I grew up, and is of course the hub of eventing internationally. Here you find a bevy of riders from all around the world competing, training, marrying each other and their stories are also fabulously intriguing and uplifting. Friendships grow regardless of nationality as they travel together nationally and internationally from event to event then every few years it comes down to competing for your country

I’m lucky enough to be close enough to see the real emotion on their faces as they stand on the podium and their national anthem is played but, despite this always bringing a lump to my throat, I’m going to try and be a little bit more Edith Cavell-like in Rio.

Of course I will focus on the Australian riders but I hope to bring more than that over the next few weeks during and after the Olympics because there are so many amazing stories and people out there in the eventing community, regardless of where they are from

Wouldn’t it be great if we ended up with a team of refugees in eventing at the next Olympics? Then again, with the peripatetic lives of eventing riders, maybe we already have .........