It isn’t “just sport”

Sport  has  a  particular  importance to  England  at  present  because sporting sides are the only source of national focus the English  have. The  English  are  denied a parliament,  they  are  betrayed  by  their political  elite who shudder at the idea of English  nationalism,  they are constantly insulted by the national media,   but the national sides continue. These sporting institutions  permit the English to articulate their  feelings as a tribe.  Even  English men  and women  without  any interest in sport should support them for that reason if no other.

Those  who say “it’s only sport”  should stand back and reflect on  the amount of time, effort and money which is spent throughout the world on sport. Women may be generally less enthusiastic,  but sports  obviously speak to a deep seated desire within men.

Man  is  a  tribal animal.  If he were not it would matter  not  a  jot whether  one team won or another,  unless money was on the result.  But manifestly men do care and care passionately when no material advantage is  to  be  gained or lost by the result.  In  fact,  the  relationship between  a football fan and his club is probably the most  enduring  of his life, for it commonly begins in childhood and ends only with death.

The  outpouring  of joy when a goal is scored dwarfs any  other  public expression  of  positive  feeling  today.  Those  who  imagine  that  a football  club  is merely a business and that selling  football  is  no different from selling baked beans, fail to understand the game and  the fan.

Sporting heroes are heroes in the literal sense for they play the role of the champion whether it be in single combat (tennis) or as part of an army (football). There is something primal about this.   Watch even a powerful man  in  the presence of his sporting hero and the  powerful  man  will almost certainly be unconsciously  deferring to the sportsman.

Team sports are war games, a war game in fact as well where men meet in a  form  of direct  physical confrontation  which  is  a  pretty  good substitute  for  tribal war,  war fought hand to hand  with  sword  and shield  and  spear.  Sport is  war without the  weapons.  That  is  its primal  glamour.

Because of their  function as lightening rods of national feeling  the  existence of England sides are  hated and feared by  our  elite. The  erstwhile  and now deceased Labour Sports minister,   Tony  Banks, persistently  puffed  the idea of a British football  team,   something that is indubitably not wanted by any of the four home FAs or the  vast majority of fans.

The  political  dimension  goes beyond  the  English  national   sides. In  these politically correct times sporting crowds in England for  the major sports are also disturbingly white for the liberal  bigot  elite. Vast amounts of time and money have been devoted to making crowds “more representative”, happily with precious little  success.  Football crowds in  particular  are  a source  of concern to our  liberal elite because they provide  the  one opportunity  where large numbers of the white working class can  gather together and express themselves  uninhibitedly without having to gain the permission  of the police. This concern is amplified by  the general contempt which the British  elite  have developed for the white working class which, in the sporting context,  is especially focused on the football fan.  (Margaret Thatcher more  than any  other  individual  fostered  the  contempt    when  she  routinely painted  English football supporters as hooligans and  enthusiastically promoted  the  exclusion  of English football clubs  after  the  Heysel stadium  tragedy at the 1985 European Cup final between  Liverpool  and Juventus. )

But  sport has much more to it than tribalism.  It is a constant  in  a changing world.  It is a source of aesthetic delight.  It speaks to the whole range of human emotions. When a great batsman goes to the wicket  when his side is in trouble and makes the bowling look easy,  the whole mood of the players and spectators  changes within minutes: when a football side which is 2-0 down gets a goal back the swing in moral certainty from one side to another is palpable.  It is much more than being “just sport”. It is a mirror of what it is to be human.

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