Stop playing with your balls!

Posted: June 20, 2010 in Random Ramblings

I’ve finished my day’s studying and have sat down in front of the television for an evening’s well deserved vegetation session. Unfortunately my family have commandeered the tv box and are currently subjecting me to the scourge that is the world cup.

I may be a man, but I feel none of the excitement and that sense of team spirit that most do. Let’s be fair you soccer fanatics. When your team wins it is through no merit of your own, get up off your behind and join a club yourself. It is true that I have never played soccer myself, even though some doctors believe that I can (see previous posts for reference to this particular incident.) Being in a wheelchair I never will play the sport, however contrary to the popular (and extremely cynical) views of some of those who know me, my abject hatred for the sport is not born from my inability to play it. There is a plethora of other reasons that cause me to find this game absolutely loathsome.

Let me first outline the flaws I have found in the actual playing of the game. Most soccer players are guilty of taking a dive some time in their career. As I write this article, one player trips over his own feet following a clip to the toe by a player on the other team, he jumps into the air with all the grace of an elephant, now he falls to the ground with such speed that he skids several feet. Now he cradles his leg (as though it has been crushed by a train.) The referee takes no heed of the dramatic sportsman. He gets up and walks away.

It is a terrible reflection on the sport that the perpetrator of these theatrics is a brazilian, a member of one of the best teams in the world. I feel this constant display of amateur dramatics, seen in every game, from amateur to professional levels is a great indication of the pettiness of the sport. Compare soccer to rugby where blood injuries are far more likely and where several people have been left dead or disabled by neck injuries. Compare it with the irish sport hurling where the ball (called the sliotar) travels at up to 150 km/h (93 mph) and most players go without head-gear. If a player in these sports performed in the same way as a soccer player, by diving, looking for sympathy from a referee, they would be laughed off the pitch. By their own followers and the opposition.

Now let us discuss the characters which play in this great sporting drama. I feel there is something amiss in a world where we can begrudge a consultant doctor, a man or woman who has worked for 20 years, participated in academics to the highest level, studying in college for a minimum of 5 years. A man or woman who saves the lives of others! Yet we can advocate the exorbitant salaries offered to soccer players, men who are hired to play with their balls for ninety minutes a week at most.

From stories I have been told and from the unquestionable evidence from recent news stories, a great deal of players characters could be described, in my opinion, as deplorable. Take Ashley Cole as an example, a man who has been blessed with a great gift in his soccer playing prowess, he was wealthy, popular and was the envy of most men in being married to Cheryl Tweedy. However this was not enough for such a man and so he went about tearing apart his highly enviable life. I find it shocking that our society can actually deify men like this and don’t go about saying that I’m generalising because to name just a few more, take John Terry and Mr Goldenballs himself David Beckham as examples of spoilt soccer players who have abused their positions to get what they want. I can even provide anecdotal evidence of the abhorrent, selfish attitudes of at least one infamous, highly paid soccer star. (although I won’t mention the name.) The mother of a friend of mine saw this person in an airport, she saw this as her only chance ever to ask for an autograph for her son, who I’m sure would have been ecstatic to receive it. However having asked politely for his signature she was told in no uncertain terms what she could do with herself. If you know me personally, you can ask and I’ll tell you who this was.

Now we turn to the actual world cup itself. An overhyped event in my opinion. Everyday we here the hyperbolic reports of world cup widows. One internet dating site is actually encouraging women to “find someone new” if they have been “widowed” by the sporting tournament. I think it laughable to accredit the competition with the power to engross men to this level. The tournament is also highly commercialised, several countries in europe actually could not afford rights to broadcasting the world cup following the high expense of the Eurovision.

Furthermore, it is questionable whether the spirit of sport is still alive in the game of soccer. If you take the English premiership as an example. Absolute hatred is to be seen between fans of different teams. A friend of mine once went to a premiership game but having bought tickets late had to sit amongst fans of the opposite team. She was advised by one steward to wear her nondescript jacket throughout the game to conceal her jersey and also not to cheer for her team, for fear of her safety. As for the world cup specifically, you can complain about the pointlessness and political motives surrounding such drab competitions as the aforementioned Eurovision song contest. But the World cup is no better. One example this year was the elimination of the Irish by a French hand-ball. Did FIFA stand up for both the wronged country and the spirit of sport itself in this situation? No. They protected their elitist competition, wrongly allowing France to continue and shot down the spirit of fair play. As I have said, I don’t care for this competition so my outrage at this incident is not because I am Irish and the Irish were wronged, but because I am a sportsman and the ideals of sport itself were violated in this instance.

It is for these reasons that I truly loathe this “sport”. Finally, I am hereby starting a petition for the removal of vuvuzelas from all broadcasted programmes, let soccer fans and players go play with their horns and balls with themselves and leave us sensible people with something stimulating to watch on the television and no, I don’t mean Sex and the City.

Comment and let me know your opinions.

  1. I cannot believe that this can be true

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