As Geraint Thomas crossed the finish line of this, the final competitive stage of the Tour de France of 2018, he did the classic primal-roar-look-to-the-skies-double-fist-pump of the pro sportsman.
That was the release.
The acknowledgement of the achievement.
Photogenic and heroic.
Then he was collared by a press man and asked a question. He opened his mouth and the lip trembled. He hid his face beneath team issue baseball cap (should be a casquette, really, but whatever…) and sobbed, squeezing out a manly “aww jeez…I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” and then he sobbed a bit more.
Because he’s a man in a man’s world and he’d rather not be crying for all to see. And I can feel the vibes radiating from my wife, sitting beside me, watching this heroic sportsman crying on TV.
She’s thinking “there’s nothing wrong with you, you’re feeling an emotion you idiot.”
And she’s right, of course.
And then I felt her elaborate on her thoughts (internally, but we’ve been married a long time and I can read her like a book). Her facial expression and general body language went on to say:
“You’re experiencing big feelings Geraint…the joy you feel is too big to hold inside…with the tears you’re letting it all out.”
And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that’s quite a specific reading of body language. But my wife, you see, is a dedicated and committed childcare professional. She reads all the books and knows all the theory.
This kind of language is common currency in our house.
Though I should clarify she is not suggesting Geraint Thomas is a child. That his emotional intelligence is stuck at the level of a five-year-old. No – she loves the man as much as the rest of us.
How can you not?
He’s the everyman.
The antidote to the arch complexities of Sir Bradley, and the bullet-proof polish of Froome. He was never going to win the Tour because he’s too normal. He was destined to be the ultra-respected unfailingly loyal team man.
In the end, perhaps he’s the only guy who could snatch the Yellow Jersey ruthlessly from the back of his team leader, with a smile, and a joke, and end the race as bigger mates than they started it.
Which leaves me with only the small task of quoting page seven, paragraph five, of the big book o’ cycling clichés: “barring mishap on the traditional ceremonial stage into Paris…” Geraint Thomas is the winner of the 2018 Tour de France.
Big feelings indeed.