The English – and other lesser- leagues resumed a week or so ago. Football returns to our screens, and hearts, and minds once more.
Refreshingly, it seems Manchester United are back as well, if the past three results are to believed. The greatest team in the world is back to its imperious self, like a Colossus , conquering England and trampling lesser clubs beneath its feet.
And Pogba, who can forget the images of the long limped Paul Pogba, insouciantly running around the pitch, appearing not to have a care in the world yet dictating the tempo of the game like a master artist rehearsing a music piece. In that regard he’s like Usain Bolt, a true master of his art, conquering without exertion, achieving while seeming to put the least effort- and all with a smile on his face
For the next nine or so months we, the loyal, will be glued to our screens, often during weekends, sometimes during the week, paying homage, in supplication, to the beautiful game. We’ll be, to put it succinctly, in worship.
Take note spouses, friends and all others not soccer inclined, the weekends are gone, claimed by something more powerful than friendship, more powerful than intimacy- football. And it is all supported by scripture, in a way, if John Anthony Burgess is to be believed, as he said “Five days thou shalt labour, as the Bible says. The seventh day is the Lord thy God’s. The sixth day is for football.”
The Uruguayan writer, Eduardo Galeano, asks, in his Football in Sun and Shadow: “How is Football like God?“ He answers, “Each inspires devotion among believers and distrust among intellectuals”, before he gives examples of Rudyard Kipling and Jorge Luis Borges who mocked the joy and divinity of football.
So it is that we await each weekend, each game with both anticipation and trepidation. Anticipation because the joy of seeing your team in action is unparalleled, trepidation because the results do not always go your way. And yet we we wait for that magical moment, the goal, the most beautiful single moment in a game.
Galeano, always a little dramatic, says: “The goal is football’s orgasm. And,” he adds, with flourish, “like orgasms, goals have become an ever less frequent occurrence in modern life”. Whilst some may contest the latter part, the first part is sacrosanct, the goal really is football’s orgasm.
Football is back. And goals. Thus orgasms.