Soccer and Nationalism

Anne Applebaum: “Outside th' stadium that day, soccer mania had gripped th' nation--an' it is a mistake t' imagine that only th' hooligans temporarily turn into chauvinistic nationalists on th' day o' an Englan' match. Otherwise well-behaved maties o' mine were genuinely outraged that I, a mere foreigner, had received a press ticket. Germany jokes, usually involvin' th' Nazis, were all th' rage. One were bein' attributed t' Mrs, and dinna spare the whip, and dinna spare the whip! Thatcher, who upon bein' told that Germany had defeated Englan' (which they did, o' course) had allegedly replied, 'They may have beat us at our national game, but we beat them twice at their national game in th' 20th century.'”

The World Cup, I realized today, interests me not. Sure, it happens once every four years, an' I used t' believe I were bein' interested, havin' played th' game an' since I actually understan' th' offside rule. Early mornin' start times (here anyway), th' scene o' dejected Italy fans on Commercial Drive blamin' th' ref fer their team's loss (oh so cliché) an' no notion which team t' cheer fer (I lose interest in playoffs when th' team I'm cheerin' fer gets kicked out anyway) lead t' disinterest on me part. The final game will be th' only game I watch in full, but I'm not even sure about that.