It’s interesting how the media machine works, what makes the wheel turn, the cycle of news that gets churned out of an off the cuff remark, a short quip or the media’s manna; an indignant response.
One quote can fill pages of newspapers, internet websites, and television sports reports with analysis to follow, outrage, disgust, fear, excitement, hyperbole and not forgetting my favourite thing -absurdity.
The most absurd notion that has filled the media this week is this almost pathological desire by some football and non-football people for the Socceroos to entertain.
Is this a symptom of the world we live in? Are humans with all manner of wants, needs and desires addicted to entertainment?
At times it has felt like a mob mentality and during the last press conference, Australian coach Pim Verbeek who has now steered Australia to four wins and a draw with eight goals scored and none conceded was asked: “Are you looking to entertain as well as to win?”
The comedian moonlighting as a coach, Verbeek used my favourite weapon of choice sarcasm: “No I put six strikers on the field, I don’t care about defending at all, hopefully it will be 6-6 and everybody is happy except me, I’m here to win the game, I like to win with many goals but let’s go for the win and that’s all that counts.”
Lucas Neil gave a great response when asked the same thing: “Listen I’ll take a 1-0 nil in the 95th minute, that is all I’m worried about, I’m not worried about goals, how we please the crowd, the best way to entertain you and please you is tell you we are in the World Cup.”
I would rather Australia make the World Cup and get flogged than the scenario that faced football fans in this country for 32 years. That is Australia not being at the World Cup and having to choose a favourite team and then as a 'neutral' be entertained by Brazil, Italy or Argentina.
Is not being involved in a tournament where for 32 days four billion people are doing the same thing as you entertaining enough?
And that is watching football, talking about football. There is no other activity in the world that unites humanity in such a way.
Last Night’s Game
So back to this entertainment thing, a crowd of almost 60,000 was at Stadium Australia last night, in the driving rain, the sheer awesomeness of all those people singing the national anthem even if most people forget the words cannot be understated, watching the faces of the players as the camera pans across the team, the determination the will to get the job done is inspiring.
Do you think these players are thinking at that moment I want to entertain? Do you think when any player takes the field they are looking to entertain?
The great late comedian Bill Hicks said it best: "I'll tell you this; it is the moment I’m addicted to. That moment is a suspension of time and space when we realize our true selves as timeless. Entertainment is another definition of time and space. If it's scary or funny, if you go "AHHHHHHHHHH!"; You're entertained! Why? Because you've realized your true self which is not in a body, not physical, not dying or born to die.... "
See you at South Africa 2010.