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Spiers at the Games: how to build on the Games for a better future

So…what of the next 10-20 years of sport in Scotland? It is the question that many are asking.

Hope springs eternal after these magnificent 12 days of sport we have had in Glasgow. The 2014 Commonwealth Games are now expected to be the golden goose, giving birth to a great new age of sport in this country.

The dreaded word for this, of course, is "legacy". The Games are over, but what will be their bequest to Scotland as a nation? Indeed, will it be anything at all?

You can probably over-egg this subject. There is little need to get neurotic about it, though some are already. The Games have been fantastic, but let's not go into overdrive about What It Means For The Future. In sport, with or without planning, the future normally takes care of itself.

Yes, we should plan. Yes, we should instruct the coaches and the parents. Yes, the Scottish government of whichever hue should make sport - that is, investment in sport - a key policy. We are all into all of that.

But you will never legislate for the sheer randomness of sport, and how its success stories suddenly erupt.

One example. Andy Murray is a brilliant tennis player, not because of planning or strategy or governing body policies. On the contrary…his mammy taught him and encouraged him.

In sport - it has been seen so many times - you cannot put a value on the sacred love and encouragement of a parent or guardian. It is irreplaceable.

In the wake of these Games, I think the key for the next 10 years of wider sports in Scotland lies not with the attitude of kids. It lies in the willingness of adults and coaches to make a commitment to sport for their children.

That said, of course there are "policy things" we can do to make sure that Glasgow 2014 leaves some kind of legacy of enticement or stimulation among young kids.

The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow's east end is a classic case in point. For me, it can act as a microcosm of how well we are really pursuing our post-Games legacy.

This is a state-of-the-art facility. It is one of the best in the world. It echoes thrillingly when busy. It also resembles a mausoleum when it is empty.

From this point on, the Velodrome needs to be financially accessible to all. It sits in an area of Glasgow traditionally associated with low-income and deprivation. If anything needs to work in the post-Games age, it is this gleaming cycling track.

We should make sure this arena is attractive and busy, even in an area of relative poverty. If that means cheap entrance, cheap bikes for hire, cheap coaching and instruction all to hand, then let's do it.

I hope Glasgow's kids will be able to flock to the Velodrome for years to come, with cost being next to no hindrance. The utter scandal would be a little kid, living in the shadow of this race-track, saying circa 2018: "I'd love to go in there with my bike…but I can't afford it."

Facilities aren't everything. The seed can be planted with a kid whizzing round a park on his or her bike. But eventually, a good facility kicks in. A really talented young Scottish cyclist, if he doesn't start there, would eventually end up in the Velodrome.

It will be the acid test for me in terms of "legacy" - how popular and accessible can the Veledrome become?

Parental guidance is another key issue. I've learned this recently, having my own young family, and seeing it in action elsewhere, especially in the gospel being spread by Judy Murray.

The message is pretty simple: a child derives so much fun and learning from a parent saying simply, "Let's go out and play."

When I was four years old - and I remember it as if it was yesterday - my father walked into our home brandishing (seems odd now) a brown paper bag, out of which he produced a football. "Look at this!" he told me. Five minutes later we were in the wee park across the road playing football for a first time.

I've never forgotten the instant, incredible thrill of that moment. This game - whatever it was - was magnificent. It has stayed with me all my life.

Just as important as facilities, strategies, government finances and the rest, is the attitude of a parent. It is the greatest catalyst of all.

Glasgow 2014 has the potential to unleash all of this, and more. It is a question, more than anything, of how much adult Scotland really wants it to happen.

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