IN A FEW HOURS’ TIME, Australia’s soccer team will play the first of two games vital to its hopes of making the World Cup finals list. We can imagine the players’ excitement as they loosen up for the contest ahead. Even now the coach must surely be leading a last-minute refresher in the theatrical arts of thrashing, writhing and moaning, vital skills and FIFA-endorsed responses for those moments when an opposition player casts a mean glance, says something rude or refuses to venture an opinion on whether pastels are this year’s hot colours for soft furnishings. A bit of sobbing and, often as not, there will be penalties and a goal. If a score fails to eventuate, the crowd will tear up the seating and blind each other with flares, the deficit of manly fortitude on the pitch neatly balanced by brute thuggishness in the stands.
The rise of soccer in this country is often hailed as a signifier of maturity, proof that we are now full-fledged members of the world sporting community. Take that with a grain of salt or, more appropriately, with a barf bag. Soccer is to sport what Julia Gillard is to decency, and if there is an ounce of moral resolve in Canberra it would have been banned for the societal cancer that it is.
Soccer encourages sooking in boys and young men.
Soccer has all the visual appeal of Craig Emerson vocalising in his crusty underpants.
Soccer is endorsed by Julia Gillard, who squandered $50 million attempting to bring the World Cup to our shores. Thank the Great Bunyip that everything she touches dissolves in failure.
Soccer is mostly followed by hollow-chested Poms and the hairier strands of woggery. Once upon a time followers would set about each other with knives at half-time, but this once cheerful feature of the game has now been re-directed into acts of pre- and post-game vandalism and mayhem on the streets surrounding the stadiums in which it is played.
Soccer leads to discord and war, from El Salvador’s biff with some other benighted nation too insignificant to recall to the recent conflicts in the Balkans, where all those fob-pocket backwaters undoubtedly tapped reserves of spleen that had been building through decades of countless 0-0 draws.
Let it be noted here that Australian Rules has never prompted an international incident, except with the Irish, who also play soccer and cannot therefore be considered rational or responsive to reason.
Tonight, when Australia’s team takes the field against Jordan, turn off your TV for the sake of our nation’s future and pray for defeat.
And remember, Gillard supports soccer, so there cannot be a single thing to be said in its favour.