Skip to main content

Last thoughts on the World Cup

For most of the time, I don't much care about sport. As a Colorado resident, I didn't realize the Rockies were in the World Series until they lost their second game and never watched John Elway and the Broncos win the Superbowl. I usually tend to think that sports are pointless (the very definition of a sport really), the games often terribly brutal, and the players spoiled, overpaid corporate shills. That's not to say I don't enjoy watching the occasional game--I still remember the Rose Bowl where Vince Young led UT to victory against USC as very good. The thing is I am not a fan. One can't really enjoy a sport if one doesn't care who wins.

However, this has been sport at its very best. All those negative things about sport are all true--but it's not the whole story. Witness the ceasefire Didier Drogba single-handedly wrought in Ivory Coast in 2006. Most countries are built around political compromise, often ignoring ethnic distributions and geographic realities, particularly in the developing world. The project of the nation-state is to provide a decent standard of living for all its citizens irrespective of status. Sport can be the glue that holds otherwise fragmentary countries together. Borders should be redrawn anyway, one might say, but that usually means war, especially in poor countries. Better to try and work with what's already there.

So the reason I like soccer is the USA national team is the only one I really care about (since the Jazz lost to the Bulls in the NBA finals back in 97-98). God knows the USA could use do with some nation-building.


  1. If one can't really enjoy a sport if one doesn't really care who wins, then why did i enjoy the world cup? I never cared about sports until i came to south africa. I see how awesome it is that people condition their bodies, compete and challenge themselves and work together br a team and i think it is awesome. Not just some "petuitary cases trying to shove a ball
    Through a hoop" (woody allen, annie hall). I thought it was nice how the world cup bonded south africans, even if crime and unemployment are still rising. A great mistake, which before i have made is to assume that sports are useless.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

The Conversational Downsides of Twitter's Structure

Over the past couple years, as I've had a steady writing job and ascended from "utter nobody" to "D-list pundit," I find it harder and harder to have discussions online. Twitter is the only social network I like and where I talk to people the most, but as your number of followers increases, the user experience becomes steadily more hostile to conversation. Here's my theory as to why this happens. First is Twitter's powerful tendency to create cliques and groupthink. Back in forum and blog comment section days, people would more often hang out in places where a certain interest or baseline understanding could be assumed. (Now, there were often epic fights, cliques, and gratuitous cruelty on forums too, particularly the joke or insult variety, but in my experience it was also much easier to just have a reasonable conversation.) On Twitter, people rather naturally form those same communities of like interest, but are trapped in the same space with differe