Monday, April 29, 2024

The sport I follow


For many years the main sport we followed here at clerkmanifesto was soccer. And though I tried to keep my soccer commentary on a back channel, one inclined to the research (it's never happened before, but it's always possible) could surely pull out and read through many dozens of soccer themed posts from my history of essays. 

And it has been irresistible to write about it a little: Soccer is a rich, complicated, beautiful game, flowing in wild narratives, and full of amazing insights into life itself.

Unfortunately, and I say this with real reluctance, soccer is also stupid.

Soccer is so, so, so stupid!

It is like the stupidest thing ever! 

In fact, I think soccer is the stupidest sport outside of professional wrestling, which, as you know, isn't even a sport at all! Wrestling is, well, like soccer with more planning.

And while I can't claim that this analytic conclusion concerning soccer is free of personal bitterness (after all, my heart has been raked over the burning coals of soccer more times than I'd like to admit), it is not completely disconnected from reality. Sure, at least half of all soccer match results are attributable to one team being better than the other, but, and this is super important, a disturbing amount of the remaining games, when teams are at least roughly close-matched, are decided either by insanely bad calls, moments of random luck, or the work of capricious gods who are simply mad at everything.

So I have switched sports.

I now exclusively follow English Amateur Competition Shows. Essentially these are The Great British Baking Show, Great British Sewing Bee, Great British Pottery Throwdown, and The Great British Flower Show which had only one season and might not have been British, I don't remember, but it was brilliant anyway. These shows have far lower stakes, more admirable participants, and much better judging than soccer could even dream of. And not only are these shows more wholesome, egalitarian, and fair than any professional sport I can think of, I can also watch them on the couch with my darling wife.

I'd say the only real shortcoming to these English Amateur Competition Shows is that they don't really make enough of them. 

So, in a spare moment, every once in awhile I check in on how Messi is doing here in America.

He's doing pretty good. But he's getting close to aging out of the game now.

Maybe he should take up baking.

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