I've been semi-avidly following the World Cup this year (Team Deutschland!), especially enjoying the UK Guardian's online live blogs and commentary.
The above-linked Guardian opinion piece by Paul Doyle posted Tuesday really got on my nerves, though. Enough so that I created an account with "The Guardian" just to respond thus:
Two things from this opinion piece struck a bizarre chord with me:
(1) "The happy paradox of the World Cup is that while it has proved that international football remains relevant, it has also helped show that nationalism is an anachronism. Insisting that players attach their identity to one country and one alone could be construed as obscenely reductive and fundamentally evil..."
A player representing "one country and one alone" is somehow "obscenely reductive and fundamentally evil"? Obscene? Evil? On the contrary, I find the concept of a player representing his country rather refreshing and unselfish --- as opposed to the mercenary quality of most football, each team an utterly meaningless random collection of men bought and paid for.
(2) "Also, it is a shame that the main protagonists, the players, do not get to fraternise with counterparts as much as everyone else. Perhaps the tournament organisation needs to be reviewed so that in the future all players stay in an equivalent of the Olympic village? They could still travel to various cities for matches but return to a shared base with shared facilities, an arrangement that would surely foster love and humanity and also, indeed, level the playing field a little."
Writer Paul Doyle, are you a 13-year-old girl living in "Hello Kitty"-land? The World Cup is a serious COMPETITION. Not a day-camp for troubled teens (sorry, Brazil). The World Cup is neither a place for "fostering love and humanity" nor for "leveling the playing field a little." It's where the best of the best come head to head to prove themselves against each other. This sense of raw competitiveness has been steadily expunged from our everyday lives --- and now the honesty of the impulse can't even be exhibited in the football arena?