I have a new rant. Yes, I know I was going to keep up to date with the ex-pat stuff and all that, but I am suddenly consumed with irritation now that the World Cup is upon us…
First of all, a confession – when I was a little younger (ok, ok, a lot younger), I was pretty good at football. It wasn’t one of the official games at my school(s), but we nonetheless managed to play it, as I recall, just about every day on some pretext or another. We played 5-a-side, 7-a-side, crab-football (anyone remember that?), 3-a-side, and basically any-number-we-could-find-a-side. And I loved it. At least I did until I moved up in my mid-teens to “big” football – you know, 11 players and a pitch you needed binoculars to see the other side with (and a ball that hurt like hell when it was wet and blasted right in your face).
Well anyway…I was brought up strictly in the old “it’s not the winning that counts…”, fair-play mould (had it dinned into me by my misguided parents), and there I was giving my all one day when something strange happened and suddenly there was this hairy youth blatently elbowing and jostling me off the ball, pulling my shirt, hacking my ankles, and generally being a mean and nasty piece of work obviously brought up strictly in the “it’s not the taking part that counts…” mold. And I was stunned. Only momentarily, off course – my reaction was (predictably), `well, all I can do is play my best and not stoop to his level` etc etc. I stuck to that concept, relied on my faith in the ref. and good natural – or at least British – justice etc…and basically had stopped playing within the year. (That’s the confession, btw).
And now, mumble-mumble years on – now that I see clearly that the Hairy Youth is the clear winner in the, um, winning stakes (at least as far as footer is concerned), I still get all bent out of shape about poor sportsmanship. Now I am sure that there are a significant number of players out there who are decent people (at least I have to hope this is the case), but there are some – some? Hell, there are a lot – that just make me want to rant. So let me get on with it…
Rooney. Ha! The very model of my original Hairy Youth opponent (well, apart from the hair): spoilt, not blessed with great intelligence, insanely self-confident, earning a fortune (don’t get me started on the hilarious sums of money people seem happy to pay these inherently useless people), and well, basically, a childish, unpleasant little brat. And now I’ve another one to rant about – the Australian player Craig Moore. I watched him in the game against Ghana. Here was Hairy Youth personified – as dirty as you like as long as you can get away with it. I’ll be watching them both to see if they get the red cards they so richly deserve (if it was me, I’d just send them off as soon as they entered the stadium – oh, sorry, that’s not very charitable, is it?). And no doubt there are plenty more in there just waiting to be discovered (I haven’t even started on the am-dram lot, for example – “oo – I was pushed, luvvy – give us a free-kick, will you? Aw – go on…”).
Anyway, I feel better now that I’ve got that off my chest. I watch the football here with some interest – if I didn’t, my sanity would be questioned – and I’m personally rooting for the team that has the least number of Hairy Youths. I may don a Brazilian shirt from time to time (in self defence, you understand), but I shall be maintaining a critical eye on the Hairy Youths and hoping – probably vainly again – that the “nice” team wins for once.
…just been to the loo and this has given me second thoughts (I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure…). Perhaps the sad fact is that if we try to be `nice` -in football or in anything else – we’ll just get trampled under the feet of those who see it as a god-given (small letters intentional) exploitable weakness. Hmm. So what are you – a fair-play footballer or a win-at-all-costs player? I wonder.
And anyway, why is this relevant to living in Brazil? Well, because we’ll be in the thick of it in 4 years time, I suppose. And of course, there really IS something special about Brazilian football. Really….