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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hard Reality


What an effete lot we are!

Two weeks (9 days really) of half days without the kids, then we start work with the kiddies and now, by Wednesday we are whimpering with fatigue.

I have to say that it appears that the fates are on our side because next week (for no obvious reason that I can see, but compelling none the less) we have two days off! God alone knows what state we will have worked ourselves into by that point before the traditional resignation of teachers takes over and the year proceeds with an acceptable level of grumbling rather apocalyptic talk of the impossibility of making it to June!

I have now seen all my classes, but it is still too soon to make any rash predictions about how they are going to work out over a year. One lives in hope!

But enough about my professional life; let me instead parade my grumpiness about my pet hate of the moment.

I do not have a great deal of choice about the proliferation of football games which appear on our television screen. If you are serious about the game there appears to be no moment in the day in which you have to suffer the indignity of being without the sight of twenty two men prancing about on the field.

Now I can (with a little severe prompting) ‘enjoy’ a game of football with the best and by judicious listening to Toni’s analysis of the game and parroting his views as my own I can pass muster as a bit of an aficionado – as long as the conversation is not too long and detailed.

So it is not the game which merits my rich contempt but the people who play it. It is not merely that they are grotesquely overpaid, mincing, strutting, wannabe models with absurdly overdeveloped foot eye co-ordination, and the real irritation for me is the way that they make their entrances.

I am well aware that football is the most popular game in the world and its very popularity means that its most expensive players have a duty to their sport. This is a game that can, and is played anywhere and everywhere. If there is a sport which can truly be said to be worldwide then football is it. It transcends race, creed, colour and politics.

Except of course it doesn’t. Spanish and Catalan players come on to the pitch and touch the grass and then make the sign of the cross; Muslim players hold their cupped hands in front of them while they pray. Goals merit a triple crossing or hands held high to god. Such ridiculous posturing brings sectarianism into the sport. I would forbid any overtly religious expression of faith in the ground of a football match.

This redundant religiosity has about as much convincingness as the ostentatious kissing of the Club badge when some prancing millionaire has scored a goal. That dedication to the Club (which has been bought at vast expense) can be changed in an instant by a higher offer.

I don’t often agree with the French (on historical grounds of national prejudice!) but I must say that I have a sneaking agreement with the French President when he attempts to ban the trappings of religious dress in secular schools. If I had my way I would not ban religious (should that word be in inverted commas?) schools but I would make damn sure that the government did not pay the teachers. The major expense in schools is the total salary of the teachers. If religious groups want a religious school let them pay the full costs with no government subsidy.

Football is a game of dexterity and skill, the best players are exceptional athletes who train and carry out the plans of their managers – god has nothing to do with it.

And while I’m on a roll; what about those embarrassing ‘Celebrations’ on the scoring of a goal?

One sad bugger, on scoring his goal, produced, as if by magic a kid’s dummy which he had presumably secreted in his jock-strap before the game so that he could suck it (ugh!) and thereby dedicate his goal to his child! Was I his manager I think that I might have something to say about the bringing onto the pitch unauthorized equipment and especially storing it in a place which must (surely) have impeded his full range of movement during the game!

Tomorrow is my early start at 8.15 am in school. I think that I am entitled to go early and Thursday is my free afternoon.

Worth a try I think.
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