Good Politics, Bad Entertainment
Deaglán de Bréadún
Like most Irish people, I suspect, I can take or leave the game of soccer. The World Cup failed to catch my imagination this time, or anyone else’s around these here parts, and not just because Ireland wasn’t involved.
I think it was the late John Healy who remarked that, for much of the time, soccer is like watching paint dry. Inconclusive moves hither and yon with very little result most of the time.
Politically, however, I think soccer is a Good Thing. It is the most international of sports and brings together virtually all nations and cultures. It is the sporting equivalent of the United Nations and maybe more effective. It used to be known as the Garrison Game in Ireland but now I see even senior Sinn Fein members proclaiming loyalty to English soccer clubs.
South Africa rightly won kudos for its performance in hosting the tournament. I wish, however, they had banned that pestilential vuvuzela which was a most unpleasant intrusion in all the matches.
I should point out that Gaelic games can have their boring passages. A good hurling match is a gift from the gods but there is nothing more wearisome than a one-sided game as you enter the 20th minute of the second half. Especially if Kilkenny are (again) hammering Wexford
I was a young fella when we got our first TV set specifically to watch the World Cup final between England and Germany. What a thriller! And all in black and white – but then we didn’t know any better at the time.
Last night’s final between Spain and the Netherlands was a monumental bore up until that very late final score by Andres Iniesta. The gesture of taking of his shirt to display a message to his dead friend was very moving – or rather moving in retrospect, as I could not figure out what he was up to at the time! For more info, click here.