[Marxism] Socialism and Football: A Personal Note

i.lagardien-alumni at lse.ac.uk i.lagardien-alumni at lse.ac.uk
Thu Apr 27 10:23:19 MDT 2006

Comrades and Friends

I have two points to make about the socialism and soccer/football post. The first is not quite serious, just an anecdote, the second may warrant a discussion, but this is, in general, just train of thought stuff.

First, I've listened to Jim Rome on the radio, here, in the USA a few times. Actually, I haven't heard his show in about three years, so...

During one show, about three years ago, he completely dismissed football, and received mucho support from callers when he referred to it as a "European socialist" sport. Among others he dissed women's basketball, and women's football etc. Regular sexist, male macho bull. With regard to basketball players from the US being traded to Toronto, he said "they would rather their children be educated in the US" ... callers agreed, and said that the "metric system was communist". 

Second, I love football, (and couach 7 - 9 year-olds) and enjoy the world cup finals, but... the symbols of national pride, patriotism, triumphalism and general hubris is a major let-down.  Ditto the Olympics. 

In a conversation with Greek friends last year, they laughed and were quite appalled when recalling how a Greek television commentator spoke of "the competitive Olympic spirit that ran in the blood" of one Greek athlete. They found it laughable in general, but saw the irony in the fact that the player in question had become a Greek citizen a couple of years previously - he had been a refugee from Albania. 

So, the question, apart from the confounding capitalist greed that surrounds these events, which is probably a bigger issue, how does one enjoy a football tournament and NOT get reeally upset at the petty patriotiam, nauseating nationalism etc..

One of the reasons I don't attend or even watch sport in the US is the national anthem thingy they play at sports evenst. Believe me, I am not even patriotic about South Africa - and I was part of the anti-apartheid movement, but in my journalism and activism.

Enough raving for the day... Onward Arsenal to the Champion's League Final. I would like to support Barca, but the racism in Spanish sport is too much!

Peace, solidarity.


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