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Spiers at the Games: I've never known sport as enjoyable as this

There is plenty time for things to go wrong…many of us are Calvinist, right?

Scotland's Lauren Brash competes during the Rhythmic Gymnastics Team Final and Individual Qualification at the SSE Hydro
Scotland's Lauren Brash competes during the Rhythmic Gymnastics Team Final and Individual Qualification at the SSE Hydro

But as things stand, with just one full day of competition gone, these Commonwealth Games of 2014 in Glasgow have been absolutely heaven-sent.

The city has shimmered in a baking heat. The sports arenas have been busy, many of them packed out. On the concourses and thoroughfares, locals and visitors have revelled in the sheer magic of it all.

The opening ceremony, rightly, received a high degree of praise. It was everything that is Scottish: warm, witty, creative, nostalgic, and also a touch self-deprecating.

I liked that last element of it. The Scots, when it comes to it, are pretty good at laughing at themselves. We have a sense of some of our more absurd traits and don't mind sending them up. It is a very endearing quality, which Wednesday night's Celtic Park extravaganza perfectly captured.

If it's not putting it too mildly, I think the Queen quite enjoyed herself at Celtic Park - and that's not a sentence I've ever written before. Her Majesty has sat through some dirges in her time, but this was surely one of her better nights out.

It was said more than once that the opening ceremony's budget could not even touch Danny Boyle's largesse for London 2012's opening shots. Well, that was fine. Imagination costs nothing, as has been well proved in Glasgow.

I spent Thursday roving around different venues, my eyes popping at the colour and excitement I found all around me. Families were everywhere, the city was heaving with children. And I found drama and enjoyment in - for me - the least likely places.

"Malawi v Northern Ireland" the billboard said of one of the opening netball fixtures. In I duly went, to be dumbfounded.

The game screeched from end to end, teemed with goals, and was spectacular to watch. The African team, especially, had remarkable talent, passing the ball in a blur.

I got up from my seat to leave, having thoroughly enjoyed the game, which I presumed Malawi to have won 39-22. "Sit down, it's only half-time," the girl next to me said. I sat back down, relishing that there was more of this to come. The eventual result was 71-50.

Next I wandered in to another sport I know little about: rhythmic gymnastics. The SSE Hydro was packed for this and I quickly discovered why. Rhythmic gymnastics must be one of the most skilful and watchable sports on show at these Games.

One after another, a gymnast stepped forth to perform a routine to music, invariably holding a ball or a hoop, to mesmerise us with grace and skill and trickery for three or four minutes.

I sat there open-jawed. In my pig-ignorance I never knew these sports could be so riveting. It was incredible to me to see the sheer range of talent, from countries large and small, perform so spellbindingly.

Outside, in the baking heat, the Glasgow culinary selections for lunch read:

Chips with lorne sausage.

Chips with curry sauce.

Fish and chips.

Chips with battered squid.

It's good to have our traditions. I dived in to some of this gruel, washing it all down with a lunchtime beer, which was chilled to the point of having ice on the bottle.

I wandered over to Kelvingrove Park to check out the bowls. En route, bantering Glasgow policemen kept me right, while the red-shirted Clydesiders smiled and happily came to our aid.

At the bowls, older sports fans were sheltering under trees, panting for air in the heat. The bowling arenas were green and immaculate, as close to golf's Augusta National as I've ever seen in Glasgow. It was another uplifting scene.

I want plenty more of this. I'm heading to Ibrox for rugby, to Hampden for the athletics, and to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome to see how fast these cyclists are. And I won't be alone. Glasgow - and Scotland - really has embraced this festival of sport with relish.

So far these 2014 Commonwealth Games have been stupendous. God, of course, has helped with the weather, almost too extravagantly. It's going to get cooler, I'm told, over the weekend, which will be no bad thing.

I'm in my element. I've scarcely enjoyed watching sport as much as this. These are a dream 12 days in the life of Scotland.

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