I wanna be numb

I am gonna make this part of my world cup tradition. For 10 or 15 minutes after England get knocked out of every world cup from now on, I just wanna be numb.

Special thanks to Mark (1990), Kevin (1994), Mike Syslo (1998) and Jeff (1998,2002) for helping me keep my tradition before I even knew it was a tradition. Jeff tried his best this year but the space he gave me was taken away. I am not asking for a lot. Just 15 minutes of numbness would be plenty. It’s not like anyone died after all.

More on flag-burning…

I found it extremely shocking to hear various American commentators speaking, during the world cup, in support of diving (Balboa), professional fouls (Lalas and Wynalda), time-wasting (Balboa again), deliberate handball and various other offenses that I had always considered to be “outside the rules”.

The prevaling opinion of the commentators seemed to be that the yellow card was an opportunity for one-free-foul-to-be-used-wisely rather than a punishment for breaking the rules. The very presence of a punishment for an unethical act makes the act itself no longer unethical. The commit/don’t commit decision becomes a cost/benefit analysis rather than an ethical dilemma.

Puts me in mind of the early debate about whether the Bill of Rights might prove harmful because it could not possibly enumerate all of the rights which citizens should enjoy. As the rules for what we may or may not do become ever more well-defined, we lose the opportunities for making ethical decision-making. Eventually we will lose the capacity altogether. I fear that some of us already have.

Please don’t tell me the results (2) …

In the old days, if the commentators of one game wanted to share the score of another they would say..

The score of the XvY game is about to appear on the screen. if you don’t want to know the result, please look away now.

Now you have to take counter-measures to avoid finding out who gets whacked in The Sopranos before the season even starts. The media has whole teams of people whose job it is to spoil your enjoyment of reality shows, sitcoms, movies and even American Idol by telling you the ending before the show is aired.

This time … more than any other time…

It’s all a ploy to confuse the enemy. In fact, the whole Rooney/injury thing… all a ploy…

We do it every four years. Our strategy is to look really terrible for the first round and then just squeak out of the group by way of arithmetical gymnastics in the last game against Poland. In the following rounds, we put on a stunning performance against at least two world cup powerhouses – leading to predictions which include the phrases /this time/ and /all the way/ – before getting knocked out by Germany on penalties.

This year we are being a bit more adventurous by actually winning a game in the first round. This time I think we can go all the way.

Please don’t tell me the results…

… I have the game TiVo’d.

This is a standing rule that sports fans understand very well. It’s the not-quite-fans who have trouble understanding. They think they are doing us a favour 🙁

So, not-quite-fans, follow this simple rule to save yourself – and, more importantly, the victims of your good intentions – a lot of heartache. Before you say anything about the game, ask this simple question :

Do you know the result of the Team X vs Team Y game ?

Thank you for your cooperation.

Why no superstars for England manager ?

What do all these players have in common ?

  • Beckenbauer
  • Vogts
  • Voller
  • Klinsman

They are all great german players who went on to coach their national team. The best dutch players, too, seem to make an easy transition to coaching – Cruyff, Gullit, Rijkaard, van Basten.
How come english players don’t do the same ? It seems that you are not qualified to be an England manager until you have coached Swindon, Watford or Oxford.