It normally ends in tears. Instead, on a sunny afternoon in July, it started with them. A lachrymose Andy Murray ruefully reflected on another loss in a grand slam final. His four-set defeat by Roger Federer condemned the 25-year-old Scot to his fourth loss in a final and was a pessimistic portent for the summer of sport.
Yet as the leaves begin to fall with the predictability of a professional footballer in the penalty box, the nation can look back on a golden season for Scots sports men and women. The great British summer was streaked with tartan triumph. It would be both impossible and parochial to ignore the contributions to a wondrous sporting season offered by Mo Farah, a double Olympic gold medal winner, Bradley Wiggins, winner of the Tour de France, and Jessica Ennis, the veritable sweetheart of the Games.
However, the Scots must not only be applauded, but used as a guide to better times for both competitors and spectators. The Caledonian champions not only excelled in their sporting fields but offered a hint of what the nation can witness on home soil in the coming years. World-class sport is coming to Scotland and there is an expectation that the Commonwealth Games, the Davis Cup, the Open and the Ryder Cup can all feature Scots prominently.
This all follows a season in the sun with Murray, of course, starting the ball rolling by winning an Olympic gold and silver and then taking his first grand slam by defeating Novak Djokovic in the final of US Open. His success was followed by Alex Salmond, the first minister, conducting talks about how the tennis legacy could be delivered in Scotland.
Murray, hopefully, may also be coming to a stadium near you in 2013. Team GB have drawn Russia in the Davis Cup and Braehead Arena, near Glasgow, is a strong contender to host the tie in April.
The success of Scots in the Olympics will also resound into the future in other arenas. Sir Chris Hoy, the Edinburgh cyclist who became Britain's greatest Olympian, is in Glasgow today to visit the velodrome named after him. He is, of course, an ambassador for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and he is charged with keeping the golden momentum of London 2012 running north towards Glasgow. He was part of a Team GB that also included gold medal-winning Scots in Tim Baillie, Scott Brash, Katherine Grainger, and Heather Stanning.
There was a silver lining, too, in that swimmer Michael Jamieson, who finished second in the 200 metres breaststroke final, is a Glasgow lad who is likely to be something of a poster boy for the 2014 Games.
In team sports, the rugby team beat Australia Down Under for the first time in 30 years, whetting anticipation for the autumn tests and for the six nations next year.
But it was golf that provided a dramatic finale to an extraordinary summer. There had been moments of success through the season for Scots, particularly in the shape of Richie Ramsay, who won the Omega International Masters and Carly Booth, who took both the Scottish and Swiss Opens.
However, the final words of an incredible stretch of sport were spoken in an Aberdonian accent on Sunday on an unbelievable Ryder Cup singles day. Paul Lawrie, 43, looked into a camera and asked his sons if he was now a ''cool'' dad, while knowing the answer would almost certainly be in the negative.
Lawrie is so Scots he was born on Ne'erday. The triumphs of Murray, Hoy and others testify to the worth of talent, dedication and persistence. Lawrie, the Open champion in 1999, has all of these traits but his triumph is to seem ordinary, while prospering in a world of superstars. He was almost casually bad-mouthed by commentators in advance of the Ryder Cup and throughout it. One American described the Scot's meeting in the singles against Brandt Snedeker, the FedEx Cup winner, thus: ''Snedeker just won $11.4m and Lawrie still gets mistaken for your heating and air conditioning guy.''
Lawrie, a master of self-deprecation, would have smiled. Out on the battlefield of Medinah, Lawrie missed the green completely with an overcooked second shot on the fourth and his ball rolled perilously close to a grandstand teeming with American supporters. He chipped in for a birdie.
His grin was soon widened as he celebrated thrashing Snedeker 5&3 and contributing a point to Europe's winning total.
The golfer had proved that he had much to contribute in the late summer of his career. He had exemplified the Scots traits of endurance, belief and a refusal to buckle. He was quietly thrawn and solidly indomitable.
He was the lone Scots presence among the 12 members of the European Team but he is an example to such as Ramsay, Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson. He also has the capacity to be an enduring inspiration for another generation of golfers who have barely picked up a club. Lawrie will also now surely be one of the unofficial ambassadors as the Ryder Cup comes to Gleneagles in 2014.
The most marvellous aspect of the summer of sport is not only that its drama had Scots as the leading actors and actresses but that it was screened in full, glorious colour and available in almost every household.
A nation's children could thus focus on their fellow countrymen and women winning major tennis tournaments, taking golds on cycles, horses or in boats or being part of the greatest comeback in European sport.
As winter beckons, it leaves the warmest of feelings in that not only can Scottish sport be celebrated, but that it can provide a beckoning finger to aspiring children if only the will and money is found to invest in coaches and infrastructure.
And there is still the football team's qualification campaign for Rio 2014 to enjoy . . . Now what was all that about ending in tears?
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