The curse of soccer

zeg gayball bigHow strange the human heart and the passions that set it beating faster. This weekend across Australia, sportsmen will contest in manly fashion the possession of sewn and inflated leather balls. There will be examples of bravery and endurance to inspire the young, the frequent thrill of fresh digits being added to scoreboards, plus the spectators’ satisfaction as arenas empty of having witnessed engrossing spectacles. That will be the happy lot of those who follow Australian Rules and rugby in its two variants.

And then there is soccer, which might produce something lively if devotees of this peculiar pastime grow so bored with scoreless sooking that they wreck the grandstands and/or start riots. If on best behaviour, they might content themselves with simply nodding off during the extended periods of to-and-fro nothingness that punctuate irregular outbreaks of men in baggy shorts kissing each other with an enthusiasm rather more pronounced than would seem warranted. As Zeg notes (above), soccer’s international masters have developed their own method of enlivening the sport over which they preside: to ease their boredom they stuff fat and unmarked envelopes of cash into each other’s trousers.

Not to criticise soccer, mind you, and certainly not in Australia, where the likes of Gillian Triggs might well see grounds for launching proceeding against its detractors. The alleged sport is, after all, a new arrival on these shores in its professional manifestation, and all that falling to the ground in theatrical agonies is not too far removed from the reported slights to members of sundry minority groups that keep so many Human Rights Commission staffers employed and their mortgages paid. Perish the thought that one might need to engage legal counsel to defend against charges of soccerphobia.

In America, where the First Amendment guarantees the right of all to decry a pointless and boring activity as a pointless and boring activity, no such need for reticence prevails. Syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh, for example, is entirely free to promote his Keep Our Own Kids Safe, a crusading organisation openly devoted to suppressing the round-ball game. You can hear his sad tales of the harm soccer is doing to his nation’s moral fibre here. And if Limbaugh fails to persuade, one particular element of fellow American Ann Coulter’s multi-pronged assault on soccer surely must:

“What sets man apart from the lesser beasts, besides a soul, is that we have opposable thumbs. Our hands can hold things. Here’s a great idea: Let’s create a game where you’re not allowed to use them!”

Coulter’s full case for the prosecution can be read via the link below.

(Editor’s note: Some Quadrant readers, a merciful few, actually enjoy soccer. If so, be aware that this item is posted largely in jest. Please do not burn grandstands by way of registering displeasure.)

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