Resigned to the Inevitable

Published by The Sage.

The parallels between chess and football are tenuous at best. I sometimes think they only exist in my head. It’s time for that to change. 

In the Premier League these days there are all too many facile, bloodless victories. Teams who are three or four goals down get ready to defend the latest corner. They look beaten by life. It is no longer possible to tell if it’s zonal or man to man marking. These depressed, bedraggled players just kind of linger in an agitated fashion like a methadone queue waiting for the local chemist to open. 

Even the winning team don’t really care. Those with a conscience shuffle around in an almost embarrassed, apologetic way, while the egotists have already started planning the celebratory remarks they will post on social media.

Do we all need to be dragged through this? The away fans remain stoical to the end, but would love to start the journey home in order to catch last orders before bed. The majority of home fans feel obliged to wait around long enough to clap/boo their victorious or defeated representatives off the field. It’s kind of like waiting for a wealthy, aged uncle to die. Everyone will be happy when it’s over, some will benefit more than others, but while everyone is waiting for it to be done, it’s rather awkward.

It doesn’t have to be this way, not if we take a lead from chess.

If your arse is being metaphorically kicked on the checkered board, you resign. In one act of understated, gentle humility, all the pain is brought to an end. Your uncle’s protracted suffering is over. There is no verbal comment required. No resignation speech. No interaction with your foe at all. You simply and definitively push your king to the deck. The eloquence of silence. You say it best, when you say nothing at all.

Imagine that in football. The captain gets the nod from the touchline, and instantly collapses to the floor to signal the end of the game. Better still, the manager throws himself backwards in the technical area ala Russell Crowe at the end of Gladiator. A specific piece of music can be played at this point for those who are visually impaired or have given up watching and are merely loitering, waiting on the sound of the final whistle. Come to think of it, the theme tune to Gladiator would have the gravitas for such a momentous moment. 

 

'It’s kind of like waiting for a wealthy, aged uncle to die. Everyone will be happy when it’s over, some will benefit more than others, but while everyone is waiting for it to be done, it’s rather awkward.' Click To Tweet

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Shin Pads & Angry Dads

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