The World Cup is with us again. I am underwhelmed as usual. This was supposed to be fun, in the particularly narrow sense of having lots of football to watch. That part isn't so bad. The rest of it... where to start?
The thing which gives me the most grief is the poor ratio of hype to significance in the venture. The hype was and still is disproportionate. After the hangover has lifted, the smoke has cleared and the streets are swept, all that will have happened is a series of football games. Good for a fling, and just as brief. But the flock of marketers jumping on the World Cup gravy train rather detracts from the football.
Probably if my country was in it I could have pride to justify zeal, but most of the egos out here are headbutting for teams they have no inkling of connection to. Just because someone decided to support a fancied foreign team, they find enough grounds therein to sink their emotional lot in its fortunes at a remote tournament. He will even argue with friends and fight strangers for this team. Likely even bet a princely stake, a ruinous amount.
Inevitably someone's favorite team gets eliminated - we were never all gonna get to the final, see. (I always get triggered when the host country gets eliminated a good while before the final. Awkward for the survivors' visiting fans huh.) It's like gambling: everybody cries so that one person can smile very broadly. It's probably a good thing we didn't qualify and spend all that time and money only to go and get humiliated on a global stage. And then assemble at the airport to aim rotten eggs at the team bus. Or, more typically, throw a major tantrum on radio and TV talk shows.
By all means buy and wear the foreign country's jersey, who cares really what you brand yourself with, or where you come from, or what sense it makes. Sport is supposed to be fun anyway. It gets more thrilling when there are stakes involved, something to be won or lost. I play football, I should know.
There comes a time however when a line is crossed and the stakes are just too high for this life and the only real winner is the corporate sponsor orchestrating the scam to peddle merchandise. And, of course, that one winning country.