The crowd is hushed, waiting
Breaths held for the magic moment
When she dives into a glaring light,
A golden times that glitters loudly
As the men from papers shout-
‘Look this way! Over here!’
But all she does is scan the crowd
Looking for the only man that counts.
Yesterday, Andrea Spendolini Sirieix won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 10m platform diving competition. She is only seventeen so this is a marvellous achievement, but it has received more attention because she is the daughter of somebody considered to be a celebrity in Britain.
Her dad, Fred, is most well known for being the maitre d in the popular First Dates show. But it was Andrea that took the spotlight last night as she put in a brilliant performance in the pool.
But for me, it was the pictures of Fred, beaming in the stands that made me smile the most. There is something so special about the close bond between a father and daughter, and when a dad is proud of his girl it makes your heart feel fuzzy.
I spent a lot of my twenties feeling really awful about myself because of the drinking that I just could not kick. I tried to overcome this shame by doing stupidly difficult challenges like swimming the Channel – anything to make myself like a worthwhile human being.
I genuinely thought that my own father hated me and was ashamed of me. However, one day I was working at the gym and I was signing up this guy who I thought I recognised. It turned out he worked with my dad and I had remembered him from my parents’ wedding.
“You’re Dave’s daughter, aren’t you?” he said as he signed his membership form.
“I am,” I replied.
“I work with your dad,” he confirmed. “Your dad always talks about you and what you’ve done. You’re a bit of a legend in our office.”
I was lost for words. It’s very British of us, not to talk about being proud of each other, and my dad is VERY British. However, I wish he had told me that he was proud, perhaps it would have stopped me from beating myself up with alcohol.
I obviously don’t blame my parents for my drinking – that’s all on me – but I’m glad that Fred shows his pride so publicly. And I hope that Andrea appreciates it and has a far healthier mindset than I had as she goes into her adult life.