The Interpretation of Sports

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Fri Jun 28 18:16:52 MDT 1996

Adam informs us:

>I think an integrated system of competing states created Greek sports. Such a
>system does not really apply to most of the great Empires of Antiquity - so
>we do not see sports in quite the same sense as we or the Greeks would
>recognise it, in say, the Roman Empire. They massacred Christians instead.

They liked gardening (Cincinnatus, Lucullus) and working out (Trimalchio --
read 'Satyricon' by Petronius and you'll see they were into competitive
eating, too). They were obsessed by fitness (orandum 'st ut sit mens san'
in corpore sano) and bowel movements (check out 'I, Claudius'). All was
cleanliness and running about a lot. And digging. Put it all together and
you get public toilets (money doesn't smell), a sewage system, clean water
piped a long way and paved roads that are perfect for forced marches with
heavy packs at the double. Very utilitarian. We have fitness for warriors
(the Marines, the SAS), they had fitness for warriors.

Of course, the corruption set in with professionalism and slavery -- the
gladiatorial system. Cheap thrills and sensationalism. Same as us, only we
get it as virtual celluloid junk, whereas they got the real thing.

The Greeks did it as real religion, patriotism, primus inter pares and so
on. The Romans, just like us, did it as surrogate religion and patriotism.

By the way, wasn't it a great match? The most exciting first five minutes I
can remember in a football match, and I've never seen such a tremendous
series of penalties as those deciders after extra time. Andy Moeller's
winning shot was fantastic given all the pressure on him. Poor old
Southgate... His mum apparently put the mockers on him at home watching the
telly -- he'd screwed up a penalty years ago, and she just *knew* he'd fuck
up again. The real problem, though, was McManaman missing every pass by
about six inches, poor sod. Looked as if he was playing on half a

Anyway, the reason why the losing team did a triumphal lap of honour after
the match was that they knew that English football had at long last come
out of three decades of doldrums. We're on a roll. So roll on the World

As for the pitiful sight of inverted chauvinist lefties in England sipping
their shandy to toast the Germans, and their counterparts in Germany
trinking their mineralwasser to the healss of ze English, the less said the
better. The half-million march in Bonn by the unions against the cuts meant
more to most Germans than the result of the match.

Adam just about summed it up right by implying a result for the riots of
plebs 3, cops and fascists 1.

Did any of you think about the significance for us of the lack of
jingoistic support for the filth of the gutter press in the vox pop
interviews? The Malvinas with their infamous 'GOTCHA!' are still recent
history, yet the chauvinism failed to strike a chord. And the players
themselves fraternized very demonstratively after the lost match, even
Pearce, who wouldn't have looked out of place leading a charge from the
trenches in World War I.

And I think the Czechs have got a hell of a chance to humiliate the Germans!

Another great result of these championships is the utter insipidity of
Wimbledon by comparison.

Soon be the steroid stakes in Atlanta, and, a bit more to the point, the
Tour de France, starting tomorrow in Holland, with Miguel I declared fit
and raring to go.

Swedish TV featured the recent oil-wrestling championships in Turkey
earlier this evening, but I'm ashamed to say I've forgotten the name of the
bloke who won. However, he was immensely popular, and everybody cheered
like mad as he was chaired round the field.



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