13 June 2010

Love Hate

By Dr3

I love that for one month all club allegiances are set aside as patriotism and second-hand patriotism are galvanized within us all. I love that for one month, a region becomes a country. I love that the World Cup genuinely does impact the world (unlike the NBA/NFL/MLB/NHL ‘champions of the world’). I love that nationalistic pride takes precedence over individual and mostly misplaced pride in terms of politics and everything else non-football within a country/confederation. I love that the World Cup can provide host nations the opportunity to express their culture, even if it can sound like a mosquito over a PA system. I love seeing the Jamaica’s/Trinidad’s/Senegal’s give their fans the opportunity to enjoy the world stage no matter how prematurely they are asked to leave said stage. I love that racism for example within a country, can be dispelled such that the only colors that remain are those of the flag. I love that everything in the World Cup happens so fast. I love that the fortunes of a man for one month can change his and his country’s life (Roger Milla/Ronaldo…) forever. I love the rat-race that is the media coverage of the World Cup. I love that for the same competition there can be so many different “most anticipated games in history”, depending on whether there is a Sky or Time Warner or whatever else watermark on your television. I love that football websites become tourism brochures. I love that before I can say Tshabalala twice, the tournament ends, and we’re back to transfer speculations, and Mourinho quips.

It is brevity, and entertainment with a twist of exaggeration/ hype, and that’s why I love the World Cup.

Did you know the World Cup lasts only one month? Did you know that all the billing and analysis, all the ‘of all time(s)’, all the ‘Pele is so great(s)’, are for/from a tournament that spans(ned) a month? Did you know that all the ‘Messi still needs to prove himself’ is based on how he performs for 1/12 months versus the other 9/12 months in which he shellacked all in front of him? Did you know that all the ‘South Africa is not safe’ articles, which detail incidents that happen every weekend (for 9 months) in Merseyside (sorry Kopites), or maybe even in Washington D.C. are from a month when bright eyed and naive tourists get their due for going too far in the deep end? Did you know that there was crime in every other World Cup? Did you know that the World Cup is exploited by the press and politicians alike? Did you know the World Cup is just another opportunity for ad campaigns to paint the stereotypical third world country heroes portrait? Did you know that many World Cup ‘legends’ went on to be absolutely nothing at all? Did you know that many ‘golden eras’ have passed with no World Cup medals? Did you know that many legends have not ever won a World Cup? Did you know that there are legends that have never even been on the plane to World Cups? I mean are they not legends because they played for say Liberia (I’m not saying that the World Cup is some dude that claims to be the only test of status, but it is touted as such)?

The World Cup is now serving as an opportunity (for one month) to flex those GRE verbal skills; in being verbose, metaphorical and blinking lovely. The race is no longer just between the 32 teams on the pitch (for one month), but between abc’s and espn360’s and ITV’s and football blogs/websites around the world. We treat the World Cup as if it is paramount to everything that is football, when it merely serves as the crowning piece, and symbol for national pride in a player’s career(one month per four years). We sensationalize battles as epic even if in our heart of hearts we know they were perhaps as enthralling as a match in Curling. Interesting that a network that chooses to broadcast poker, little league baseball, fishing, hunting, and golf (for nine months), would have exclusive rights to the World Cup (in America), and even have their very own expert analysts.

It is brevity. It is entertainment. It is hype. And that’s why I hate the fucking World Cup.



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