The oh so ugly game.

“The quake in Java has claimed more lives…..warships are moving along the Bosphorus into…..the child who disappeared whilst cycling home after an after school play rehearsal….death rates from preventable diseases in the UK have risen again…..
…..and, in sport.”
I hear that tag many times daily on radio and TV and every time the words grate. It’s one of those chasms that are there to be negotiated in life, like Philip Schofield interviewing without a hint of derision a believer in guardian angels on This Morning or a politician trying feebly to delineate between his lies and those of the other lot.
The sports presenter, with a voice from within which you can detect the intense echo of career emptiness, with great and unpersuasive gravity tells us Rooney has successfully renogiated his weekly wage to £300,000. You breath a welcome sigh of relief followed by a dry heave.
How did this happen? How did this, so called, beautiful game acquire this apparent importance? What’s so beautiful about a herd of assorted thugs, homophobics, racists, overpaid and thick psychopaths kicking a ball?
No one talks about football for fear the conversation drag them into areas of language outside of the couple of dozen words they’ve memorised and had strung together for them in dreary monotones.
The glitterati of football, whom, I must add, it seems is de rigeur to despise yet not remotely necessary to remove, award a footie fiesta to one of the hottest countries in the world at the hottest time of year having received millions in bribes, not just from the victor but probably in vain from the losers too. Yet still football is held to be sacrosanct. No matter what the bosses or the players do, they are venerated. Even if they’re condemned, they’re still venerated. It’s the same treatment we gave the Catholic Church for centuries. No matter what the abhorrence…..Truly, it shares with the church it’s utter irrelevance.
But perhaps it’s just me. Maybe I just don’t ‘get’ it. Maybe football is the thing we can’t get through a news bulletin every fifteen minutes without being brought up to date with its latest trivialities. Maybe it’s fine, too, to have a huge swathe of the populace who can blather with authority about the minuscule variations in performance of the back four at Chelsea and still believe the president to be Barraco Barmer. Maybe that’s how it will all unravel.
Remember, when they blow the final whistle at death, you don’t just get to change ends.


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