Monday, February 05, 2007

Real Men

Oh good, Wayne Rooney has been 'released' - excellent choice of word - to play for the worst football team in the world against Spain on Wednesday. I shall be too busy doing something I have not yet thought of to watch the game. I saw a mass of rugby fans at Notting Hill Gate tube station on Saturday, presumably on their way to Twickenham to see Jonny Wilkinson return to the England team for the first time since the Rugby World Cup Final, a life-changing event for me. Little more needs to be said about Jonny, indeed words fall lamentably short. But I did ask my wife why there were more girls than boys amongst the crowd of rugby fans, the reverse being true of football crowds. 'Real men,' she said. That's it in a nutshell. So go, Spain, the hopes of all real English patriots are with you.


  1. 'Real men' - perhaps, and Jonny is superman until his next injury - but to deny the overt homo-eroticism of rugby and everything associated with it (scrums, wrestling in the showers, ribald socials with no women allowed) takes some serious collective self-delusion.

    Also, everything depends on winning. Sport is mostly about losing. Losing allows us to generate reams of self-searching prose about failures of collective ethos etc.

    It is true that England's footballers are largely a bunch of over-paid, over-coiffeured egotistical prima donnas; but if they win a few games, they magically become a bunch of over-paid, over-coiffeured egotistical national heroes.

  2. Rugby has to be the most crude and unwatchable sport ever invented. Cricket may be mind-numbingly boring, but at least it's civilised. Rugby must have been invented by Neanderthals (and Neanderthals from the wrong side of town). Soccer is a far superior game to rugby in every way. I have played both. The precise combination of physical and mental qualities necessary to be even slightly better than proficient at soccer are quite rare. On the other hand, anyone can pick up a ball (or a large egg-shaped thing) and run with it, or catch someone else who has it and try to hospitalise them. As for being real men, well, in a post-Derrida world I would have thought that was a bit anachronistic.