017. 19 Things About 2019 #17

#17 Sport matters more than ever

The skinny

From 2016:

As you know, Ned believes that most things are better seen through the prism of sport, because sport is embodied cuture, a complex discourse on issues of ethics, aesthetics, identity and economics, and so on. Also, it’s fun.


Why this matters

As the world’s economy, politics and general civility go to hell in a handcart, sport can provide a shared understanding of how things could and should work.

Train hard; aspire to win; play by the rules; respect the opposition; include everyone; the game is bigger than the team is bigger than an individual; take responsibility; etc, etc (add your own).

When you see a politician or a business person or a talking head or a celebrity or yourself behaving badly, and can’t quite put your figure on why it rankles, imagine that behaviour in the context of your favourite sports team.

Mr Trump, for example: it’s only ever always about him. Doesn’t really know the rules of the game, yells and screams at his own team mates, rude and abusive to the other team, sneers at the ref. When down on the scoreboard at half-time, will look for hero plays rather than doing the hard graft up the middle.



That 2016 post was a reflection on the Brexit referendum, which I reckon stands up reasonably well:

  • The Remain campaign was dreadful from start to finish, right down to their choice of colour (puce yellow). By adopting the narrow calculus of a parliamentary campaign (50% + 1), they started off by surrendering the high ground, before proceeding to throw enough mud to cover everyone in distaste.

  • Jeremy Corbyn’s desire for the perfect rather than the merely better, made him ineffective in persuading Labour voters to see the wood for the trees.

  • The Tory party’s decades long civil war over Europe is proceeding like most civil wars: plenty of dead and injured lying in a wasteland.

  • The Leave campaign made disgraceful promises that simply cannot be delivered. The anger over the next few years as that becomes apparent will be fearful to behold.

  • The biggest irony is that Mr Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has likely ended the United Kingdom. Scotland will surely now choose to stay with Europe rather than England. The Northern Irish may – may – decide that they can now see more commonality with their cousins in the south than their cousins across the Sea. And of course don’t forget that Cornwall has its own independence movement. (Okay it’s a couple of people in a pub having a pint and a pasty, but it’s a start.)

And the kicker:

I think the Brits (or rather the Engish) are about to find out how the continental Europeans will deal with Brexiters in order to discourager les autres.

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