Football Folly


I don’t like soccer. There, I said it. There are 100 days to go before the start of the World Cup, and already the hysteria is mounting to stratospheric heights. Why is this game so popular? I just don’t get it. “The beautiful game” consists of twenty grown men running after a ball (the other two just stand around and loaf in the goalmouths); if anyone dressed in a uniform of a different hue comes within five yards they lie down and squeal for their Mummies. People actually pay to witness this? Sometimes the entire game goes by without anyone scoring a goal, then they decide the outcome by a “penalty shootout” which is really a sort of lottery. Why don’t they just save everyone the trouble of having to put up with ninety minutes of tosh and just flip a coin in the beginning?

Anyway, a bunch of men in dresses, a.k.a. the Catholic Bishops of South Africa, are so excited they have taken time off from buggering choirboys to come up with this gem:

Almighty God,

creator of all, as people from every nation gather with excitement and enthusiasm for the 2010 World Soccer Cup may South Africans be good hosts, our visitors welcomed guests and the players from every team be blessed with good sportsmanship and health.

May your Spirit of fairness, justice and peace prevail amongst players and all involved. May each contribute in his own positive ways to prevent, control and fight crime and corruption, hooliganism of any kind and exploitation and abuse, especially of those most vulnerable. May those far away from home and those in their families find much joy in this occasion to celebrate the beautiful game of soccer and the beautiful game of life according to Your plan for the common good of all.

Amen

I have to state that my gast is well and truly flabbered. This nonsense is almost as bad as the game itself although, mercifully, it doesn’t take an hour and a half to read. Its sentiment is so banal, its language so saccharine that it is almost impossible to suspend disbelief long enough to parse its meaning.

What is the point of it? Do they believe that if they don’t burble this rubbish God will cause an outbreak of hooliganism? God has a “Spirit of fairness, justice and peace”, does he? Where do you get that from? Kindly quote chapter and verse. The players are supposed to “prevent, control and fight crime and corruption, hooliganism of any kind and exploitation and abuse”? I thought that’s what the fuzz are for.

“The beautiful game of life.” Just wait while I wipe the vomit off my chin. There, that’s better. They can’t possibly be dim enough to really believe that God has “a plan for the common good of all”? Sorry, all you dead Haitians and Chilians, earthquakes are just part of God’s plan for the common good of all.

Bah! And humbug! Perhaps I can go somewhere between June 11 and July 11 where they have never heard of bloody soccer. Or bishops.

Creative Commons License
Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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