Monday, 24 August 2009

Sportsfuck.The Nation United in Idiocy. (warning - un-researched opinion and general wtf-ery)

Recently, the country I live in won the Ashes. I'm not such a complete failure that I don't know what the Ashes are, or what they represent (some wickets got burnt or something and now the cricket is played in order to win them back....right?), but I feel completely at ease with the fact that I don't really care too much. I think it's lovely that some people played a game they like to play, and they tried really hard to win and then they did - well done for that - but that's as far as my admiration goes. I come from the Bill Hick's school of "I'm only American because my parents fucked here", although obviously in my case, you can substitute America with Britain. Patriotism seems to me like a massive woop over something essentially futile. I like living in Britain, don't get me wrong. I doubt I'd want to live anywhere else - it's pretty, the cities aren't too much like West Baltimore, there are some nice beaches and mountains, and most of my friends are here. I just don't feel a Deep Meaningful Connection with the place. Surely this is the sane way to be? Feeling overly close to a country seems very odd to me. Sport brings out this psychopathic love more than any other event, since people now openly admit that the Queen might be a bit useless (not me though, I'm a sucker for traditions, especially expensive guilded ones that remind us we're a really old place that's had a feudal system for literally ages) so her jubilees and whatnot tend to attract less meters of bunting than in the past. Sporting events bring this country together, however wrong or ridiculous that seems to some, and for that reason it might just be a Good Thing that such a big deal is made of the seemingly endless parade of sports tournaments. Distracts us from our differences, innit. Keeps us all striving towards one goal. Like the War.

It wouldn't be an original observation for me to make if I began talking about how people substitute their own stunted feelings and emotions with those they feel regarding a far more easy to understand format - people have been making correlations between supporting sports teams and unfulfilled emotional needs for years - but some people's love for their teams does distress me slightly. As a person who's clearly not got the slightest idea how to play most sports, I don't feel entitled to write about whether the games are a load of old boring shite or not. I never EVER want to be one of those women who say "what is it about football? It's just a load of men on a field, kicking a ball about! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha *swig of rose wine spritzer*" because clearly, it means a lot more to some people, than the fact that yes, it's just a game. But why? That's what intrigues me. It's all very well dismissing your ex-boyfriend's love of The Beautiful Game because it is "just a game", but you'll never lead a rich and fulfilled life if you flick other people's loves and hobbies out of the air with a throwaway comment that proves you don't know what you're talking about. To a lot of people, sports involve a sense of union and shared passion that they can't find elsewhere. To people like me, this sense of kinship (however shit that word is) is found at gigs. Some people like feeling connected with musicians and their fans, some people like feeling connected with their sports heroes and their fans. And some people like feeling connected in myriad other ways, from going to film conventions, to playing WoW. Everybody has their own geeky love for something, but most of us keep our polite traps shut about it. But no. Not sports fans. They hoot it out everywhere, and people who don't like sport can fuck off as far as they're concerned. Because sport is more than a hobby, yeah? It's a religion. It's about pride. And all that other shit they gargle on about when you ask them to stop singing offensively loudly in the pub on a Saturday evening.

TV seems to have this opinion too, with sporting events holding precedence over any other show that might be on. A British athlete is taking part, and so by some ridiculous law of mouth, we should all care about it, because We Love Britain. Well, I hate to piss on the party, but no we don't; as a nation we mainly fucking hate Britain. Have you read the papers recently? We love talking about how everything's gone to shit, about how our kids are running riot, about how old people are dying in care, about how pollution is getting worse, about how there aren't any jobs, about how shit the public transport infrastructure is, and especially about how none of it is our fault. Because we hate our government too, because they made everything bad, it wasn't us. But put an exhausted but happy British national on the tallest podium, with a flag draped on their shoulders and suddenly we're all bellowing Jerusalem and turning red and jelloid with pride. Just...just fuck off.

I don't hate sport. I used to play football and hockey at school, and it was my childhood dream to be an Olympic swimmer. True story. What I do hate is people using sport as an excuse to act like pricks. So we won the Ashes. Fantastic. I mean it, great, I'm sure the English team and their parents are very very proud. They did their job well. But looking at the pictures, I'm not convinced it was worth all that effort. Have you seen how fucking tiny that trophy is? I mean, SERIOUSLY? It's just SO SMALL. Well done England, well done. I'm sure what matters now is that you'll all be given OBEs and Sports Personality of the Year awards, and advertising contracts with healthy cereal brands. Congrats. Now sing the National Anthem, because it wasn't you or your effort that won this, it was THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

* The topic of this entry was chosen by xthemusic, who has since also asked me to call him a cunt. Whatever floats your boat, hun. Go read his blog, yeah?


xthemusic said...

I think one of the main reasons sport seems to become a big deal, is that it's one of the only things that can bring everyone together. England in the World Cup? People stop having a go at each other and support the common team.

Football is also a passion that many have in common, so it's easy to start up conversations about an interest you already have. Same with any sport as well. The conversations i've started in the last few weeks in regards to the Ashes!

Summary - sport is good, innit.

Katie said...

That was my whole schtick though Ant! It brings people together - the fact that the only thing that brings people together is bloody sport makes me feel a bit sick and tired of this whole "being alive" thing....

xthemusic said...

Isn't it better to have 'something' at the very least though? There are other forms of entertainment coming through anyway such as gaming. People talk to each other about their score in Wii Fit etc.

coffeebucks said...

This post has summed up pretty much everything I've ever thought about 'Britishness' and sport.

I've never felt any kind of connection to Britain, either. Whether this is connected to not having a deep love of any national sporting team (or if we're being fair, any sporting team) I don't know. The only sport I really like, Formula 1, has been getting a lot of patrotism injections recently because of Lewis Hamilton (and latterly Jenson Button) which has made me think about things a bit more.

Of course, being English but having lived in Glasgow for six years, I never show any national pride because I don't want my head kicked in.

Al Smith said...

What I find incredibly ridiculous is how Stella consistently seems to sell out during the football world cups and happens to be the preferential beverage of most football fans. That's right, support your favourite team and fellow countrymen by purchasing foreign lager.

Katie said...

xthemusic - I guess so. But do we all have to be so damn positive about it? :p

coffeebucks - I think living in Scotland for a bit might have stamped out my patriotism too actually....

mr bear said...

While I completely agree with your attitude towards patriotism, I think you have confused patriotism with watching something that you find exciting and having fun.

If someone enjoys a sport (eg cricket) because of the actual game itself, then they might have dreams and aspirations of playing this sprt at the highest level. And the simplest way to sort out the levels is either clubs (like in football) or by country. So by trying really hard and doing really well, graham onions (lolz, onions) was good enough to be chosen as one of the best bowlers in the country, and he got to play against the people who are best from their country.

I admire these people, and i dont really care where they are from, it is just the most convenient way of sorting it out so people can play against each other. A lot of the popularity of the sports i like has to do with characters as well. I think ronnie o'sullivan is ace, coz he is a bad boy who dont play by the rules. and i hate ricky ponting, coz he is a nob.

err.. if im completely honest i started writing this, then i went to get a drink of water, and now 20 mins ive sort of forgotten what my point was.

i think i was just arguing, but i do like cricket and im not a dick x

Katie said...

I see your point, and I totally get that some people like sport because they really like the sport. I forgot to say this though, many apologies! :)

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