Soccer Saturday*

Football makes the world go round.
No surprises.
Nowt profound.
Just a simple Substitution Equation
For legions of folk across the Nation,
Donning their colours
And forming their ranks
In the tacit absence
Of armoured tanks,
The local station a new terrain
For the swell of supporters
Now taking the train¹,
The rising and falling
Of shouting and bawling
And cheering and singing,
From all corners ringing,
Club strips borne with pride and a passion
Effortlessly circumventing fashion…
Binding together the souls of thousands
For ninety minutes, across the stands,
While those without the revenue
Convene elsewhere, or pay-per-view,
Each and every one united
By a battle of skills so simply ignited:
Twenty-two men at least full grown,
Trained to chase, to fall, and moan(!)
The plethora of balletic manoeuvres
(Something of an esoteric oeuvre)
Evolving to make a public mockery
Of all things sacred in traditions of soccery,
The fierceness of many competitions
Impeded by a wheedling disposition:
The sound that rises
And simultaneously compromises
Years of ethical debate,
A discourse too lengthy to relate
But nonetheless assimilated
By all who watch, with breath a-bated…
Believing- knowing- in their souls
The core injustice of opposing goals.
Remembering, too, co-opted supporters
Who follow the team because they oughta,
Committed to domestic harmony-
A role that makes some sense to me,
No sporting genes inherent, you see…
So doing other things when it’s on the TV;
Easily distracted and utterly useless,
Wondering if wealth
Can render a man clueless,
So blasé as to lose his drive
And fail to keep team dreams alive…
Psychologists had it right some decades back
Theorising the significance of psychological factors,
In proving that extrinsic reward
Will fail to motivate the slack and the bored
The simple absence of ‘ownership’
(And, arguably, the ubiquitous silicone chip)
Slowly but surely eroding desire:
The spark, the drive, the will to aspire.
Meanwhile, in a universe parallel,
Sisters have been doing for themselves-
For decades now: no incentivising wealth²,
Their reputation achieved by stealth:
Quietly stalwart in their endeavours,
Necessarily practical, creative, clever-
Though tacitly lacking in recognition
For unbroken commitment
To low-paid positions.



*A seasonal inevitability… and WRT BHAFC vs Middlesbrough, which ended in a draw today.

¹Train travel to the Amex Stadium is incentivised in season ticket prices

²An inequitable state of affairs. A vivid indicator of unparalleled and unchallenged greed in the male sphere of the industry.


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