Tuesday, June 15, 2010
The World Cup Con
I don’t think the World Cup really is a tournament, I suspect it’s just a really grand national delusion. Somehow, every 4 years, Australians find themselves utterly convinced that they love Soccer. And then, with little to no evidence to point to, they find themselves believing that Australia is an incredibly skilled Soccer nation.
Let’s weigh the facts:
- Even though we pretend we’ve stopped calling it Soccer and started calling it Football… our national team is called the Socceroos
- Even though we all know the names of our nation’s star players… it’s largely for their modeling work in advertising campaigns
- Most of us have never seen those players play… because they all play professionally in countries that care about the sport with a bit more regularity
Australia is the petulant, hot and cold lover that soccer plays a booty call on every 4 years. We are the cousin football runs into at big family occasions – we don’t know much about each other, it’s a bit awkward, and we may have shared one drunken, ill-conceived pash. Australia is to soccer, what the pair of work pants I wore last Friday is to me – every few years I wonder why I don’t wear them anymore, and one wedgie filled day at the office is enough of a reminder.
If we really cared about soccer we’d know and care whether its WAGS had tried their hand at a pop career, glamour modeling or porn. If the sport was that dominant it would have poached a few randomly selected NRL players by now. If it was such a big deal Down Under the controversy addled, former goalkeeper Mark Bosnich would be hosting his own sketch show.
And so we come back to the Grand World Cup Delusion, the sucker punch of global unity, flavoured with a splash of sporting glory and garnished with the truth of our own abject inability. The World Cup is the mirage a sport-obsessed nation can’t deny. Like our conveniently timed interest in sailing and judo (every time it garners us a gold medal/trophy) the World Cup offers a hint of elusive victory… and in the end Australians, above all things, really like winning.*
* = Of course, if it was just about winning we would have given the Matildas, the only Aussie soccer team to have scored a trophy, a much bigger homecoming (their ticker-tape parade must be in the mail).