What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Movie “The King’s Speech,” English monarch George VI was thrust back into the spotlight a few years back. If it weren’t for that movie, most Yanks had long since forgotten George VI’s role as a wartime leader and the fact he ruled sovereign over a quarter of the world.
Much as he did through the Second World War, His Majesty George the Sixth, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, Defender of the Faith, and Last Emperor of India endeavors to offer insights on the world of sport.
If you recall, I first came to commentary on this electronic screed back during the dark days of the NFL Lockout. Since then, I’ve become a dedicated fan of both blogs and American sport. Although it has been a while since my last appearance, I must say it’s a delight to be back here on the pages of Dubsism. The past few years have been frightfully busy; what with the spate of royal weddings and births we’ve seen in the recent past…well, suffice it to say here’s been no moss growing under Great Great Dead Uncle George’s feet.
Be that as it may, J-Dub asked me here on the weekend of your National Football League’s draft to offer a distinctly non-American perspective on something most of you Yanks have difficulty grasping…not everybody enjoys your sports. But ironically, you keep trying to spread them across the globe. Allow me to explain.
The esteemed Mr. Joe McGrath, my guest columnist compatriot here at Dubsism offered a recent piece on the demise of a start-up football league. There’s a reason why the Alliance of American Football was named as it was. It was distinctly American.
Speaking of alliances, while you Yanks have been our staunchest ally, I simply delight in the irony that is America. A dozen score and three years ago, you disloyal colonists rebelled against being part of our empire. Much has changed in the two centuries plus since then. If it weren’t for my brother’s insistence on marrying one of you Yanks, I would never been crowned . And despite your treasonous roots, you were invaluable in the effort to dispatch the Jerrys in 1945…considering how the French fought so weakly and surrendered so readily.
The bother here is that ever since then, you’ve been trying to get us interested in your sports. The simple reality is that despite your best efforts, we simply aren’t going to be .
It is important to understand that I’m only speaking for the sons of Britannia here. Basketball is the most uniquely American sport, and it is terribly popular across Europe, South America, and the Far East. However, we Brits don’t particularly care for it. Hockey is frightfully popular throughout Scandinavia and central and eastern Europe, but that sport is really more a product of our former Dominion of Canada. The sport most closely associated with American culture is baseball, which while nearly a way of life in the Caribbean and the Orient, we in the Commonwealth simply see it is a bastardization of cricket.
But it is the sport of ours that you Yanks most egregiously bastardized on which you keep trying to sell us. Despite all your best efforts, the British interest in your version of football will never be more than that of a curiosity. For almost a quarter-century, you’ve been trying to foist your football on us, and the level of interest you have for it now is really all your ever going to get.
First, you were giving us those meaningless exhibition matches, much like what UEFA does now with that whole International Champions Cup thing. The matches don’t mean anything, most of the stars don’t play, but it gives the American “soccer” fan a chance to show up at a big stadium wearing which ever English kit they have, drink some overpriced bilge-water you call “beer,” and enjoy the spectacle.
The spate of regular-season games your National Football League holds in England are essentially the same thing. Your league takes over one our parks a few times a year, gives the odd fan the chance to behold the spectacle of your mastodon-sized players, wear which ever American kit they have, drink some proper beer, and enjoy the spectacle. I know once the new Tottenham stadium is completed at White Hart Lane, there’s going to be a set number of your NFL matches held there every year. What’s not ironic is the number of matches to be played remains static…as will the level of English interest in American football.
George Bernard Shaw once said that American and England are two countries separated by a common language. But we are again unified by a love of sport. The trouble is when you silly Americans aren’t dumping tea into the harbor, you have a habit of taking things which were already perfectly fine and making them uniquely American.
Using tea for an example, you took proper English tea, and served it cold with the entire production of a sugar plantation. You took our national anthem and made it a delightful little pro-treason ditty. Specifically to my point, you took rugby and made it absolutely ghastly.
There is a beauty about the flow and sheer ruggedness of rugby. But you Yanks completely obviated that in favor for a level of brutality rarely seen on a field which didn’t involve rifles. Staying with the gun analogy, rugby is like a machine gun; the action is constant. American football is like a Revolutionary War era musket; there’s so much “stop and start,” so much time between shots spent re-loading. Watching an American football match becomes three-plus hours of Stonehenge pillar-sized men breathing heavily with their hands on their hips, interspersed with scant seconds of sheer barbarianism.
After all that, the most befuddling part of the American insistence it can spread its football around the world is you’ve already spent the better part of two decades trying to establish just such a league in Europe…and it failed. That failure occurred precisely for the reasons I’m outlining today.
Yanks love what you call “straight talk,” so let me give it to you “straight.” What it all comes down to is we British simply don’t have the American level of blood-lust; we don’t find beauty in brutality…unless, of course we are doing it to the French.
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