Soccer schmoccer

2010-07-10 12:27

If one more person tells me how great soccer is, I’m going to stick

my head into an oven.

Of course I think it’s a big deal that South Africa is hosting the

game’s greatest tournament. And yes, I know it is history in the making – the

first soccer World Cup to be held on the African continent.

However, I’m not head over heals about the so-called beautiful


Besides the fact that I think soccer does a sloppy job of being

modern man’s substitute for war, I was over-exposed to this tardy contest as a

child growing up in the township.

I find soccer’s method too convoluted and slow at getting to the

point: 22 men chasing each other for ninety minutes while monitored by an older

quartet of officials sometimes to no avail, which means that goals are likely to

be over-celebrated when they do happen.

Look at the story of our national team, for example. We even need

to be reminded to support them for patriotic reasons.

Can you imagine a boxing championship bout going without score for

more than three rounds? And that’s only nine minutes, by the way.

You see, unlike the sometimes fruitless attempts at kicking the

proverbial pig’s bladder into the net, gladiators know how to get to work.

Some may feel it’s an unfair comparison but it’s about creating the

semblance of war, right?

My main qualm is an over-immersion in soccer that I suffered as a

kid. This made football the main subject of my childhood rebellions against my

father, albeit silently.

Against my unspoken preference, because I don’t think I had a

choice in the matter, far too many times was I dragged along to the regular

soccer frenzies at the stadium or wherever the game’s devotees were


Because we shared an unquestionable passion for boxing, my dad

assumed it was the same with football. It wasn’t but I could not protest.

So we stood side-by-side every week, arguing about which is the

greatest soccer team in the world, Kaiser Chiefs or Orlando Pirates.

The males in my family would be engaged in a verbal battle to

determine the pre-eminence of either one of the two teams.

The whole thing would get even more abusive for me on a derby

weekend with Amakhosi going against e’Zimnyama nge nkani. The old man was a

Pirate devotee, you see.

That means he had the black and white attire to go with it,

decorated helmets and all. And not just for him either, he had a uniform made

for me too.

So there I’d be, a poor 10-year-old boy forced to play mascot in

the company of roaring soccer fanatics, all bent on trumpeting their team’s


Adding to our cavalry would be my old man’s other constant

sidekick, my uncle who, without fail, would arrive in his white Chrysler

Valiant, clad in one of those Pirates-themed jump suits and painted


Dragged along to this would be my cousin – another mascot en route

to the crazy carnival at the stadium.

This was long before vuvuzelas replaced

the battery-powered sirens.

Amid the din and howls of fervour, this would-be vegetarian was

stuffed with boerewors rolls and gallons of cola.

Oh and yes, the big boys savoured their beer nice and frosty. And

all I could think of was getting back home to watch a good fight.

Imagine the sort of trauma such an experience can cause.

So askies, but I’ve had my fair share of the madness.

And if you think the opposite, tough!

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