Sport for all (but I wish it wasn’t)

To paraphrase George Best, I’ve spent all my money on sport and beer and the rest I’ve just wasted. Right now it feels like a tax on the stupid and I must be due a rebate. Here’s the reasons:

Cricket

Australia aren’t beating England. Because in being beaten, the losing team is at least competing. In the last three days, England have managed one session in which they aspired to parity. And every morning, a brief Internet surf shows that somehow last night was even worse that the one before. We score a meagre 157 with all our players, while Australia lope easily to 188 losing just one man who appeared too apathetic to run. Still fair play to the fella, we were clearly never going to bowl him out and he fancied some time out fishing while his colleagues smacked the cherry around.

Some of this is undoubtedly the fault of our crowing media that labeled the Australian team as too old to compete at the highest level. Last time this rather high risk strategy saw ˜Dad’s Army’ steal the Rugby World Cup from under the Australian’s noses. But our team “ even shorn of a couple of key players “ looks undercooked, overawed and heading for an embarrassing capitulation over five matches.

Rugby

Still at least we’re losing to the best team in the world playing the only game which breaks for lunch. On the Rugby pitch we’re losing to anyone who turns up in West London looking for a game. First the Puma’s deservedly won their first ever match at Twickenham and now the South African’s have slayed their St. Geroge’s dragon in a rather more unworthy manner. Last week, we had much possession but few ideas during the last twenty minutes, and sneaked a win by hiding the ball up our jumper.

This week, we threw away an eight point lead through a larcenous combination of indiscipline and incompetence. South Africa have their pub team touring the UK and Ireland showed quite how rubbish they were. But, and I feel a surge of pride at this, England made them look fantastic.

The coach will be sacrificed, the team will move on” and come the Six Nations and latterly the World Cup, every team will see us as a home and away banker while we’ll trade on fading glories.

Football

Okay, I accept that Sheffield United never pretended to be world beaters or even any good. But hanging onto the thinnest of thin slivers this weekend, I deludedly banked my sporting happiness on us crafting a draw against a London club which isn’t bankrolled by a few squillion. Oh, I see checking the web that indeed they now are. Anyway we had our chances but didn’t take them and are left languishing at the arse end of the table hanging precipitously over a huge revenue drop to the lower leagues.

And that’s to be expected but it was like the grim reaper receiving an early Christmas present of a nail gun. Which he’s enthusiastically applying to the coffin of English sport.

I really wish I didn’t care. It’s not as beating your head against an unyielding desk can in any way change matters. But it’s the manner of defeat which rankles, we’re either chicken in the face of an opponent who’ve mentally bested us off the field of play, before we crumble once upon it. Or we’re headless chickens running around chasing the ball in a perfect parody of seven year olds playing football.

It really doesn’t matter does it? At the end of the day, sport is just nationalism dressed up in a track suit, and surely living in a country with a healthy economy, supplying allegedly well funded public services and cosseted in a generally risk free environment matters more.

Well that should be the case but it isn’t. We take all of that for granted while sport offers us the chance to bask in reflected glory, but with that comes the responsibility of feeling impotent and angry when our team gets stuffed.

We may have invented most of these games but unfortunately every other nation subsequently punctured the myth that arrogance and birth right in some way determine the result, before actually strolling out onto the pitch and giving a shit. There are many problems with English sport ranging from apathy through misadministration and ending “ as these thing inevitably do “ with money. Too much of it to the wrong people rewarding the wrong things.

Still it could be worse. Much, much worse; you could be a citizen of a nation with fantastic weather, superbly confident sporting teams and a chip on their shoulder the size of Manchester. I’m sportingly depressed to be English right now but the alternative would be to have born an Australian or a South African.

You see, I told you there was reason for optimism. If I can institute a media blackout over the next month and pretend to enjoy the cold and dark, Christmas will be here and that’s a reason to be properly miserable.

2 thoughts on “Sport for all (but I wish it wasn’t)

  1. Niall

    The cricket is going fantastically!

    Well, as a half-australian half-irishman it’s just such a beautiful sight to see the Poms getting completely trounced :p

  2. Alex

    Half Irish, Half Australian? I can see why you would hate the English then 🙂 History does us few favours for those two countries.

    Still while Australia won both codes of Rugby this weekend and the small matter of the first test, our bloke won the Golf.

    It does really make me feel any better to be honest 🙁

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