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Well, Leicester City have won the Premier League. For the non-educated, it’s akin to finding Elvis alive. Spooning you.
Leicester City are the Premier League champions. Big woop? Well, let me rap to you, G. The landscape of professional sports is a flat one. The landmarks are well known and visited to death. Everyone has seen them – even if they haven’t seen them; the Los Angeles Lakers; Real Madrid; Barcelona; the Yankees. The reason, of course, is spondoolage. Ever since sport met money in the late 19th century, there has been but one unifying relationship rule: money buys success. History has continually reinforced this rule, elevating it to gospel. If you want to eat on the highest table, one must pay for the reservation.
Of course, there have been fairytale stories in the world of sport, but it’s a limited narrative, with Cinderella the fleeting protagonist.
We marvelled at the beauty of her at the ball – these moments of triumph usually earned by forces outside one’s control; either a) the wily charms of lady luck (see: Bradbury), b) abject fluke (see: John Daly’s 1991 PGA Tour Championship win, via McDonalds) or c) the cathartic eventual win, earned through extended loss (the 2007 Boston Red Sox’ win from 3-0 against the Yankees, exhuming the corpse of Babe Ruth, en route to their first World Series in 87 years) – but we marvelled only until the clock struck twelve, after that we went back to work.
It’s tripe. Entertaining tripe, but still tripe. Leicester’s accomplishment this morning is something else entirely. Not only is it a great moment, it also goes against the prevailing climate and base logic.
Yeah, it’s just a sport story, right. Well, think of it this way: it’s the ultimate plucky battler tale, replete with an ending that makes no sense. It’s like Darryl Kerrigan winning his court case, so they give him the airport. Credits roll.
To weave you the tale of the fair maiden Leicester City, one must describe the awful conditions she works in. The English Premier League has to be the most slanted, unfair, biased fair sport construct in the history of world sport. In the EPL, there are those who have money, and everyone else. The winner at the end of the year is usually down to one of four clubs. Out of twenty.
Think of it this way. You invent a new smartphone. You step into the market, and everyone just buys either an Apple or a Samsung. Everything outside those two doesn’t have a chance. Sure, some people have an Alcatel, but they’ll never be Apple.
Leicester have grown a brick into an Apple.
It’s the real-world equivalent of The Beverly Hillbillies. Rural no-hopers accidentally find success. Honestly, and no offence, but Leicester City are Jed Clampett – a simple, rural man, no discernible talent, save for a propensity for ambushing the neighbourhood elite with folksy realities. And they have upset the effete by playing beautifully – but it’s a comparative beauty, because they played so horribly the year previous, with ostensibly the same team.
The bookmakers saw this filth, so Leicester were awarded 5,000-1 odds at the start of the season. Your mind zaps to the thought of “phwoar, imagine if I…”, but moving away from the potential fiduciary windfall you would have pocketed with the quick hands of hindsight, think of what those odds mean.
Five-thousand to one.
There is nothing in the history of sport to measure it against.
It makes no fucking sense.
I’m struggling to find real world instances to shoehorn a metaphor, but it’d be like finding John Lennon alive in your garage – after he’s found your missing keys! – or waking up to find Scarlett Johansson making you breakfast. Or winning the Melbourne Cup aboard Clive Palmer.
So yes, today marks a kickball achievement. Woop-de-doo. But with their meaningless achievement also marks an important one that affects us all.
The death of Cinderella. The books of fiction have now shifted to history.
Or, in the words of Shirley Povich:
“The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy a shitload of lottery tickets.