The World Cup

June 9, 2006 at 8:54 pm 2 comments

Via The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity 

By BRIAN DAPER 

Is football ‘the new religion’? It’s been mine all along. At least, I’ve followed club and country religiously for longer than I care to remember, through bad times and (occasionally) good. But there’s something extra special about the World Cup that brings many of us to our knees.

England fans have been exhorted by the tabloids for several weeks to pray for Wayne Rooney’s broken metatarsal. It’s funny how natural it seems to seek the Almighty’s aid when you really need a miracle.

And talking of miracles, many Scots will be praying that England lose every match, as they, too, participate in this global carnival – by proxy.

The organisers will also be praying, that there’s no trouble. That the fans take sides peaceably, in the spirit of a festival, not a fight. It’s a chance for us all, whatever our colours, to unite around something as simple as a ball, as the English and German soldiers did in the famous First World War ceasefire.

After all, the beautiful game captivates us like no other gloriously trivial pursuit on the planet. It’s reckoned that as many as five billion viewers could be tuning in at some stage to witness the spectacle. It’s just a shame that – like every thing of beauty, in the end – football is now ridden piggyback by corporations desperate for a glint of its reflected glory. Too many tickets have gone to sponsors, not to fans.

We Christians may also be using the World Cup as a marketing opportunity. It’s easy to see that, with communal worship on the terraces and the adoration of players in cathedral-like stadia, football offers people the chance to become part of a bigger story, just as our Christian faith does. The comparison is fair, so long as we don’t overdo it.

But the next few weeks are really all about celebrating the art of play. Of course, the Scottish won’t think it’s just a game when Paraguay pitch up against England tomorrow. And the English won’t believe that the taking part is as important as the winning when they’re hanging from the precipice of another penalty shoot-out.

There’ll be tears of sorrow and of joy. And, who knows, football may be coming home. It doesn’t really matter. And yet, at the same time, it does. Enough to get us praying, at least – even if it’s just for Rooney’s broken but beautiful foot.

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Entry filed under: Culture, Missions, Personals, Religion, Society, Sports, World.

Te tee Ghana? Te oyoor tee? Te nii yaano tee? Siku ya kufa kwa nyani…

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Apollo  |  June 10, 2006 at 12:16 am

    Religion, Oh no. Much bigger than that. It is a god. At least to most people. The teams are the mini god. The players micro-gods.

    What else can bring out so much passion?

    Reply
  • 2. bizkenya  |  June 13, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    I had saw an intersting comment about the cardianl rule of footabll. “though shall not pass in front of the Tv during a live match”
    Another intesrting one is, “some people say football is everything but that is in correct, football is the only thing!

    My predictaions
    Brazil will go no where, so will France but the Three Lions will make at least a Semi final appearance.
    Prove me wrong

    Reply

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