With now just three games to go, the World Cup is nearly over. In the last month we have analysed football from every angle. Experts have been procured and directed to investigate all aspects of the beautiful game until at times it seems barely recognisable. Metres and metres of international column inches have been devoted to such inanities as Paul the result predicting octopus. In a world of limited resources, and especially in a continent where resources are are most scares of all, or at least most unevenly distributed, it can all seem a wee bit excessive. Imagine how bored everyone would be by now if the same head-space had been devoted to climate change.
After all that drama and excitement here in New Zealand, when the All Whites performed above expectations, but let’s be honest, didn’t actually win any games and got knocked out of the tournament at exactly the point they were predicted to, it’s hard not to wonder what we could have achieved if we had invested that same intellectual and emotional energy, not to mention money, time and passion, into something else a little more … worthy? And, as a nation, we don’t even really like soccer. Imagine what it must feel like in countries where football does matter.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a football fan, have been following the results avidly and getting up to watch some of the games. I love the goodies, the baddies, the drama, and especially the dry English commentators. But I’m kind of guilty on it. I’d really rather my four-yearly football fix came without the quite the same level of multinational advertising overkill. It would be great if it could be done with just a bit more perspective about things that are truly worth investing time and money in rather than just entertaining. I’d like it to be a touch less blokey – especially the constant war analogies. Oh, and less slave-labour football boots too please.
The thing is, I don’t really want to give up my football indulgences, risible as they are, but I also don’t see why they can’t be a bit more sustainable next time around.