I COUNT many sportphobes among my loved ones; they often shake their heads and want to know why I'm such a fanatic.
I come from a home where the arts were seen as significantly more important than sport, but a good rugby or cricket player was treated with much more respect than a crappy poet or painter.
After all, the former is much rarer than the latter, right?
My father, an excellent poet, would probably even prefer the rotten sportsman to the rotten artist. After all, the former's poor performance last Saturday is already forgotten.
The deeds of rotten painters and poets live longer, even if it's only on Facebook or in that beach house you rented last weekend.
I always tell myself that I love sport because maybe I will see something I've never seen before. That's not something you can necessarily often say about art any more. Understandably enough, too, sport is slightly younger.
So, late on Sunday night, bitter about the Blitzboks' miserable sevens performance in Cape Town, bitter about the Stormers' ref in Leicester as well as Barcelona's dismal football performance against Girona; as well as, of course, totally bloody fed-up with our stupid, lazy government, Israel's psycho government, Britain's inept, stupid, yuppie government, Russia and America and China's… aaargh…
Okay, almost all governments, which are guilty of far worse crimes than bad poetry…
That anxious wakefulness made me get up, with no choice but to roll myself a joint, pour a whiskey and sit back for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills NFL league game.
I wondered for so many years why American football players never play backwards when they go on the run; but later accepted two passes in one move is against the rules.
Then, around 2am, I may have awoken my whole neighbourhood with my screams when Travis Kelce, tight-end of the Chiefs and likely subject of Taylor Swift's next album, caught a 30-yard pass from the brilliant Patrick Mahomes 85 seconds before the final whistle, ploughed through the Bills' defence and launched a brilliant pass sideways for Kadarius Toney to blitz through exactly like a rugby wing.
Only for a meticulous referee to say Toney's toes were on the line when Mahomes started playing.
That is not something for which the whistle is often blown by the NFL's committee of refs, but there is often a sourpuss official to curse magic, another lesson that is taking me longer to learn than is practical for a life on our earth.
Mahomes later said angrily that he hoped the moment would one day appear in the composite video when Kelce officially becomes a Hall of Fame player.
In any case, it was something I had never seen before. And it even got this 49ers fan cheering loudly — poor Travis Kelce, one day the man will probably receive a Grammy for best album.
Back to all that is miserable; yours truly has not approached a Cape Town sevens tournament with anything other than pure hopelessness for a long time.
It's practically the same every season — our team thrashes everyone in Dubai, comes to play in Cape Town in front of excited fans and performs pathetically. And unlike cricket's T20, sevens is stagnant as a sport. However, we need to continue to cherish it in South Africa — Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Kwagga Smith and even Deon Fourie have had rewarding returns there, to speak only of leading players in our world champion Springbok team.
South Africa's move to European rugby is something else to cherish, although it will take at least another season to get the hang of it. At this stage, it is mostly a case of our teams flying there to get thrashed and their teams flying here to get thrashed.
And it's still two years before our teams start sharing in the profits, so for now we have to console ourselves with the fact that the New Zealanders, who banned our teams from their regional competitions, will suffer more as a result for the foreseeable future.
And one last lament that I haven't had a chance for yet: the recent information from Cricket South Africa (CSA) via director of cricket Enoch Nkwe — that in 2030 there will be room for only four whiteys in the Proteas team — helped solidify my innate scepticism about man and his innate potential for screwing things up unnecessarily.
It's hard not to wonder how many hours CSA spent carefully calculating exactly how many white people in the national team would constitute a crime against humanity? And how much have Nkwe and his fellow scumbags done to empower black players?
For a long time now, these scumbags have been ruling one of my favourite sports locally just so their damn comrades in parliament can sit back and do even less to help children get involved in sports. And what is their monotonous approach?
Let's pick fewer white people.
No, allagonna, shame on you.
Just like it didn't work at Eskom, it won't work with the Proteas.
Take less money for yourself and erect more cricket nets in ekasi, that's all that will work.
I still want to write about baseball player Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese prodigy who is one of the best hitters and and one of the best pitchers in the sport's history. He was just paid $700 million to play 10 more seasons for the LA Angels.
With $700 million, of course, the Yanks could do so much to sort out their own health care, launch campaigns against arms industry disinformation or even put down a huge deposit for a Jewish homeland in Europe, from where they were driven away at the expense of the Palestinians. But OK, let's consider that my Christmas message. Bethlehem, etc.
Shit, at the wrong meeting again, the story of my life.
When I write to you again, a New Year's cricket Test against India will be in full swing in Cape Town.
Meanwhile, everyone is kicking balls. Rugby balls, soccer balls, cricket balls, the whole lot, but it won't matter much until the New Year.
While I'm trying to lure you all into American football so we have something else to talk bullshit about, I must confess my Christmas season background sport is none other than darts — the PDC World Championship at Alexandra Palace in London, with great personalities in front of the board and great drunkenness among the spectators.
Maybe that is the reason for rugby sevens' waning popularity. The ideal would be: one drunken stand, two stands with bars where you are not allowed to sit and drink, and one of the two best stands for sober families who are there purely for the sport and where decent picnics are sold.
Oh well, we dare to dream.
We'll talk again in the 2024. (By the way, excuse my lack of interaction, but there's an inexplicable glitch with Vrye Weekblad's comments section on my computer. We're working on it.) Hope you have a great time over the next few weeks.
It's Friday; let's keep the tunes on the party side. Tunes for festivity, party-party:
“Peace has come to Zimbabwe”, yeah right, but it was the early 1980s and I challenge you to keep your feet still:
And a cover version of one of the best songs yet, by Primal Scream and the lovely Kate Moss. Bobby Gillespie struggles to believe his luck:
For the last time, one that is so wonderful that it is almost a cliché these days. But Shane MacGowan — he was a real poet, bugger sports! — was a little more than human and died last week, easily three decades after everyone expected he would. I came very close to crying.
♦ VWB ♦
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