Football fever: get well soon

2010-06-09 11:50
Sure, I could always whine like a whitey about it, but I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t support the sporting event that has transformed my neighbourhood into a nightmare.

Actually, I’m all for it. Really, I am – at least in principle. I hope the stadia, hotels, restaurants and bars across the country are filled like sardine cans with visitors, packing oodles of their yummy foreign money. I also hope that they have a safe and fantastic time before they bugger off back to whatever godforsaken hole they come from. And although I wouldn’t bet one five cents on it, I hope Bafana Bufoona don’t get slaughtered like eleven plumped-up bunny rabbits, frozen in the headlights of an oncoming transformer.

But that’s where it ends. My support for the World Cup is much like my attitude to voting. I feel it’s my civic duty to be positive - but this doesn’t mean I’m going to wear a stupid hat, buy a cheap-ass car flag that disintegrates in a light breeze or even consider attempting the über-embarrassing diski dance, which, like the Macarena that came before it, seems to exist simply to make fools out of everyone.

It’s fitting that the meme has been dubbed 'World Cup fever'. It’s a cultural contagion, passed on through advertising and peer pressure to create a pandemic among susceptible sheeple. Symptoms include spending disposable income on football-related junk, talking to everyone within earshot about the football – the equivalent of an infectious sneeze, in this analogy – and publically ostracising anyone with a resistant immune system. Commerce is the carrier, contaminating anyone with cash without necessarily being infected themselves. Business-folk don’t have to be overwhelmed with national pride to sell everything from mirror socks to shitty ringtones. In fact, it probably helps if they’re not.

And don’t think for a second that this is the first time an ultimately irrelevant pastime has turned us into a nation of zombies. Although to a far lesser extent, we’ve been through exactly the same process with Rugby World Cup fever, Cricket World Cup fever, Olympic bid fever, and who can forget Rainbow Nation fever, the most far-reaching delusion in the country’s political history? Sure, it’s all great fun while it lasts, so we might as well make the most of it, but that’s no reason to convince ourselves that this current 'fever' is anything other than the same shit in a different box, or – even worse – that any of it actually matters. The only goal in this game is to make as much money as possible off our drunken visitors before they leave on a wake of their own garbage and vomit.

Too negative? I’m sensing an impending public ostracism from the infected, which makes me feel a bit like one of the characters trapped in the cottage in Night of The Living Dead (the original, of course – I look much better in black-and-white).

So please feel free to dismiss this as the ravings of a bitter and twisted bastard who sucks at sport. Remember that guy during PT who got picked last for everything? Yup, that was me, all the way through school. I once asked a touch rugby captain where he wanted me and he said, "The library".

I’m still a bit confused as to what part of adulthood school sports was supposed to be preparing me for. Luckily, these days hard leather objects flying towards my face, usually hurled by people who expect me to do something other than avoid injury, is conspicuous by its absence. I still can’t catch, throw, kick or tackle. I’m pretty good at being tackled though, which, as it happens, suits me both professionally and personally. 

So now you know where I’m coming from. But anyone still angry at me for my anti-football sentiments, be assured that this too, like all the other feverish waves that came before it, shall pass. Have a cookie. I promise, by the time you're done eating it, you'll feel right as rain. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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