Out Of Africa

Or “Can I have a bit more of that delicious Schadenfreude please?”

So, it looks  like England’s World Cup dreams are, once again, shattered. They left the tournament last night to a blistering 4-1 defeat by arch-rivals Germany, something I must admit finding a tad hilarious. I mean aside from the result you’ve got all these delicious titbits to drool over…

First they had a goal disallowed which would have evened the score at half time and possibly changed the overall result due to improved morale in the second half blah, blah, blah. Well if you allow that a single goal in such an overwhelming defeat can make a significant difference to the course of the game then surely England must relinquish their claim to the ’66 World Cup? Because weren’t they granted a clear non-goal (against West Germany no less!) during the first half of extra time? And wouldn’t a correct ruling of the goal have profoundly changed the game’s outcome? Tee-hee…

Secondly, the fans and players alike, in the wake of said bad decision, are braying for goal-line sensors and action replays to be introduced to the game. This is nothing short of amazing. I’ve been saying the same thing for years, as far back as the ’98 World Cup as far as I remember, and have been more or less the only person I know to defend the position. All you would hear in pubs, see on TV or read in the paper, from the same fans and players now looking to ‘update’ the game, is how action replays would spoil the game’s spirit, that bad calls are part of the enjoyment and give you something to talk about and all sorts of other spurious twaddle along those lines. Rugby and me got it right, you lot got it wrong and if you’d listened to us you’d still be in the cup. Burn.

Third, the phrase “They think it’s all over! It is now! It’s four!” now brings a smile to my face rather than making me cringe.

Finally, there’s the small matter of the picture incident…

Myself and my good colleague Mel, both Edinbuggers, are the only two Scots in the fair city of Surat and we were both rightly dreading the World Cup and all the “England invented the game, it’s ours, other teams are just borrowing our cup ’cause we let them” bollocks that tend to infest conversation back home. In fact the chat was rather mild – as Scots we’re naturally self-deprecating enough to take the piss out of our own footballing abilities so others don’t have to do it for us. Our boss though, he managed to take things too far.

Barely a few days after the cup commenced I was sitting in the teachers’ office when suddenly the head honcho strides in with several staff in tow and toting a large shopping back. He proceeds to deliver a short but elegant speech praising my hard work and the extra-curricular hours I’ve put in teaching English to the Thai staff and helping with weekend clinics, all unpaid and entirely voluntary. He then announces that he’s got me a small token of his appreciation, something to show how much I mean to the school, and hands me the bag. Isn’t that nice?

I should have known better, the Sassenachs are not to be trusted. Ever. In the bag was a framed picture of  two English football players in full regalia. Over their faces are superimposed the heads of myself and Mel. Under them reads the slogan “English Pride”.

Seriously.

Don’t get me wrong, I can take a joke with the best of them and didn’t mind his giving me an ice cream with an English flag stuck in it. But that? When I’m already get sick of World Cup banter (full disclosure – I don’t really give two fucks about football, especially the modern game)? And just after my countrymen have had a right-wing government foisted upon them completely against their wishes because the English deemed that it should be so? For those of you not keeping up the UK is now governed by the Conservative party, despite them only winning one out of fifty-nine seats in Scotland. Yes, my country is now ruled by a coalition of the parties which finished 3rd and 4th in the election by a massive margin. Total of seven seats out of fifty-nine between them, that’s 12% people.

So anything to do with England/Scotland touches a nerve right now.

Anyway, I’m not one for tit-for-tat. I explained to many people that I thought the joke was in poor taste and a tad offensive so I refuse to stoop to that level myself. Just as well the Melvinator has no such qualms. I give you the DVD cover to one of his favourite movies, which he lovingly crafted on Photoshop or something similar…

Now that is funny 🙂

PS – Mel, if you want me to take this down for any reason just let me know…

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