Monday, July 12, 2010

The fate of Paul the Octopus

They say the legendary Paul, the German octopus who predicted all Germany’s matches and the final victor of World Cup correctly, is about to retire. I think not. He has a future awaiting him…

1) Paul is going to sign on for the hot remake of Bond’s Octopussy. The question is, can he seduce the British star Daniel Craig like the way he charmed the Spanish? Maud Adams, move over, Paul's the real deal.

2) Paul wonders how anyone in their right mind can actually think that entertaining kids in a German aquarium is retirement? That’s a load of work people! Instead, he wants to cash in! Although the Spanish economy is er, not doing as well as it did in the World Cup final, he wants his share! Lawyers, make your move!

3) Paul is thinking of joining Wall Street; while everyone was busy seeing his moves on predicting the World Cup final, no one noticed him picking out the next Google…oh well, you snooze, you lose.

Shut up and watch the game!

Saying something profound about football is not my forte. Yet, here you have it, I'm in the Netherlands and its the World Cup final between Holland and Spain. As you will soon guess, this is definitely not the blog where you will get insightful commentary about Robben’s missed opportunity to strike a goal or Iniesta's amazing play that won the Spanish it’s world cup; I've barely wrapped my head around the fact that there are defenders, keepers and strikers…that there are referees who play bad cop with no real good cop around. It's a nasty job apparently.

Also, I realize that like any other ritual, there is the core and then, there are the spectators, ready to peripherally engage by following the code. It doesn't take much to learn the code. Wear orange. Wrap your beesies, those little furry creatures that come along with every 15 euro purchase from Albert Heijn around your headband like antennae of Dutch support. Scream "kill...kill...kill," and mumble along with the eclectic bar songs that sound more like ole Irish gigs. Do NOT do the step dance. And most importantly, do what others do - drink, stare at the screen while talking, and moan and cheer in accordance. Its simple really, a tribal lesson for survival in the world of football witchcraft. Besides, the "insiders" need us "outsiders" to feel inherently the "insider!" Let's not make any mistake about this...we, mere rubble, still serve a purpose through our skirting the boundaries. We define the boundaries. That will suffice for me.

There is also something liberating about my unsportiness; my profound ignorance pushes me to ask some questions to the "insiders" that make for an interesting discussion. Why, in this age of new technology where each move is documented and replayed does the referee still organically decide on who gets the penalty card? Why is this a contentious question? Why does this threaten the “authenticity” of the game as claimed by football purists? Why does “technology” find itself opposite “ritual?” Is there something profane about technology as much as there is something “sacred” about the ceremony of sport? Does the preservation of the “referee” role speak about a larger issue of the preservation of our humanity, our inherent flaws and human weakness as well as our intuitive and ingenious talent that defies or competes with new technology? Do we dare bring the two to contest?

Why why why… but questioning is just another form of outsiderness. If you want in, shut up and watch the game!