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Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Laterally SpeakingIs there life after the world cup

Is there life after the world cup

For some of us, yes. For others, it’s a long slow process of returning to normal. I personally even had time to mow the lawn last week (the first occasion for over a month) instead of being glued to the Telly at 7.30 watching Japan versus Paraguay or whoever…

Yes, I reluctantly admit that I’m suffering from an attack of the ‘Vuvuzelas’ – also known as “World Cup 2010 withdrawal symptoms”. I’m already missing the excitement, colourful crowds of fans in funny hats and the noisy swarm of bees filling our living room three times a day. Mind you, I’m not missing England’s pathetic pitch performance (best forgotten as soon as possible), but I do miss genuine sporting drama such as the dancing fans when South Africa defeated France (hurrah!), and the pain and angst of poor Ghana losing to the cheating Uruguayans.

Of course, I realise there may be some people who couldn’t give a Capetown brass cent about any of it and are mainly relieved that the daily assault on their TVs has finally ceased. There may be others who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about or who think I’m referring to next year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. But even they would have to admit that football traditions and rules play a central role (or perhaps that should read a ‘defensive midfield’ role?) in England’s psyche. When we lose (which we mostly always seem to do at an early point), all the country’s newspaper headlines are six inches high in condemnation. Even David Cameron expressed his ‘disappointment’ and called on Fifa to install new technology after Lampard’s “goal that never was”. Meanwhile Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel could be seen dancing for joy on global TV.

World Cup Football is not merely a game or a sport – it’s become an inter-continental culture clash between the World’s nations. In the old days, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and other neighbouring countries might have declared war on each other, but in 2010 their only hostile engagement was on the football field. Swapping bullets for goals seems pretty sensible to me. Rather than having border curses or worse, adjoining countries such as Nigeria and Cameroon, Chile and Argentina and even Australia and New Zealand could sort out any differences between them on a South African soccer pitch. This is especially true of two teams who remarkably both qualified for this year’s World Cup but who never actually met on the field… North and South Korea. Now, that would have been an interesting match to watch!

I think we should all learn from this and recognise the healing (as well as occasionally divisive) properties of football. For example, garden hedge disputes with your neighbour could possibly be resolved by a penalty shoot-out. The whole street could turn out to watch and then commiserate with the loser and toast the winner perhaps with a glass of chilled Prosecco. Very refined and much more civilised (and considerably cheaper) than hiring lawyers to sort it out in court.

Local Councils debating local disputes (e.g. Waste Disposal or Planning) long into the night would be forced to conclude their discussion in only 90 minutes. After that there would be a maximum of 30 minutes extra time for both sides to make their closing arguments.

Long running issues such as the Kart Racetrack north of Honiton or public parking in Crewkerne could be helped by the appointment of a neutral referee who – no doubt with the benefit of goal-line technology – would toss a coin, blow a whistle and make an arbitrary decision in favour of one side or the other. As in many refereeing decisions on the pitch, this brings instant condemnation equally from both opposing teams and their fans. Thankfully it therefore helps to defuse the situation and cool down the temperature as each side then argues with the ref rather than each other.

Worried about new supermarkets opening in your local town? Force them to go away by catching them in a defensive offside trap or by displaying a red card at the checkout counter.

Worried about the number of road accidents in Yeovil? Look for a driver using a mobile phone or driving with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a hamburger, and you can loudly declare a handball situation. You can also spit provocatively onto the pavement – a bit disgusting, but quite effective. Mr Wayne Rooney seemed to spend a lot of time doing this on TV during England’s matches, so it must be OK. In fact, he didn’t appear to be doing much else when I watched him…

Too much noise from the pub next door? You can employ teams of Vuvuzela Blowers to stand outside and drown them out with mega decibels of blaring horns. That would certainly stop them. Actually, it would stop all activity anywhere near to you. Anyone within 200 metres would suffer permanent damage to their ears. People within a mile are known to painfully endure the very nasty Migraine known as “African Tinnitus 2010”. Residents in towns up to ten miles away downwind might experience what is known as “Mild Trumpet Trauma” with accompanying headaches and disorientation.

They might think it’s all over, but there’s only another four years to go. You have been warned.

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