Every four years, every two years, every year, every season, every week there’s a football tournament, championship, premiership, league and/or game that’s just so important. I just can’t stand it.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the beautiful game, I do. Watching professional sport is poetry in motion compared to the hours spent on the side lines cheering on school’s footie with every slip and whistle and thinking I wish it would stop raining. I also enjoy the punditry and of course not forgetting Après Match on RTE.
My problem is not with the game itself but the business of the game.
William Burroughs in his prologue of The Naked Lunch suggested heroin as the ideal product – you didn’t have to upgrade your product or service, just denigrate the consumer by giving him worse deals, making him wait, mixing it etc. because he ‘needed’ the product.
I would argue that football is the ideal product. Throw together a room full of young men in their physical peak, some WAGs for a bit of car crash sensationalism (FYI I find the term WAG to be so offensive), lots of money, losing yourself with wealth and substance abuse, history, politics, huge transfer fees, corruption, diplomacy, management high jinks – who’s getting hired and who’s getting sacked, emotions, rivalry, loyalty, violence, hooliganism, patriotism and lots of money, so much money I had to say it again.
What you have there is a golden goose for a spin doctor offering an infinity of angles and hooks waiting to be fed to a very hungry media machine.
That’s my problem. Why does football (maybe even sport in general) deserve so much free airtime and inches?
It’s a business, cut throat and highly profitable yet for some reason the football industry has successfully carved itself a niche somewhere between breaking news, idealism and an opium for the people.
I object to the media’s subsidisation of an industry. I object to the coverage and how today I thought maybe we should do some World Cup tweets tomorrow. Why? A technology company with absolutely nothing to do with football but the hype made me think of jumping on the zeitgeist bandwagon and how every marketing department in the world is allocating budget to a sporting tournament thousands of miles away.
Let’s just get some perspective. Let’s allow 22 guys to run around a field after a ball and let’s cheer them on and hope that everyone does their country proud. Let’s not shut down shop and close businesses and invest so much emotion into a for-profit industry. May the best team win but remember the house always wins!
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