Thursday 20 June 2019

Liz Kearney: 'Forget match just this once, Sportzillas'

Notebook

Some people think football’s a matter of life and death, said Bill Shankly. I assure you, he added, it’s much more serious than that. I wonder what old Bill would do if he were invited to a wedding this June 1, when his beloved Liverpool take on Spurs in the Champions League final. (stock picture)
Some people think football’s a matter of life and death, said Bill Shankly. I assure you, he added, it’s much more serious than that. I wonder what old Bill would do if he were invited to a wedding this June 1, when his beloved Liverpool take on Spurs in the Champions League final. (stock picture)
Liz Kearney

Liz Kearney

Some people think football's a matter of life and death, said Bill Shankly. I assure you, he added, it's much more serious than that. I wonder what old Bill would do if he were invited to a wedding this June 1, when his beloved Liverpool take on Spurs in the Champions League final.

One poor couple, having had the misfortune to schedule their nuptials for this very day, have had to ask their 200 guests - most of whom are Liverpool supporters - to refrain from watching the match on their phones or worse, sneaking off to the local pub to catch it.

The couple, according to a Mumsnet post, had urged their friends and family to remember that their wedding day was about them, not football. As expected, the pair were duly lambasted online for being selfish and displaying Bridezilla-like tendencies.

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But now hang on a second; if it's self-obsessed to expect your guests to actually pay attention at your wedding, isn't it equally self-obsessed to think your right to watch a match trumps the right of a couple to enjoy their big day unaccompanied by the raucous cheers of hysterical footie fans?

This, my friends, is not a story about Bridezillas, but one about Sportzillas. The Sportzilla is a guy - and yes, it is usually a man, whatever the gender police might say - who believes that his relationship with his beloved team transcends everyday reality.

Family reunions, dinners, weddings, and holidays pale into significance, and indeed must be organised around the comings and goings of whichever band of ball-handlers Sportzilla has randomly attached himself to.

And woe betide anything or anyone who comes between him and 'the match'.

I have deeply weird memories of attending a friend's wedding, where a group of us were forced to stop in a pub halfway between church and reception because the lads couldn't miss some crucial cup tie of the sort that only ever happens, ooh, about once a fortnight.

So there we were, in our finery, wedged onto filthy barstools at some godforsaken rural roadside fleapit, while a mile away the wedding reception kicked off in five-star luxury with Champagne and canapés.

The common refrain of the Sportzilla is: "It's just this once. This match is unmissable." But it's not just this once. Because to the genuine Sportzilla, all matches are unmissable, particularly when you're an equal-opportunities sport fan who sees it as his moral duty to keep close tabs on the Premier League, the Champions Cup, the hurling, the Superbowl, the Six Nations, the golf, and the tiddlywinks, depending on what time of year it is.

So forgive us for collectively rolling our eyes. Unless Jurgen Klopp has contacted the 200 wedding guests personally to ask them to play in goal that day, they've no excuse for not doing the right thing: which is to forget about football for five minutes and focus on what really matters: Champagne, cake and dancing to Abba til the early hours.

And don't worry, there'll be another once-in-a-lifetime match along in a week or so.

New burial alternative might leave a bad taste

Washington State has just become the first US state to legalise human composting, an eco-friendly alternative to burials. The process means that after you die, you can be turned into fertiliser which could be used for gardens, vegetable patches and planting trees.

It's the route that actor Luke Perry took - he was reportedly buried in a compostable 'mushroom suit' on his farm in Tennessee.

All very green, but if you used the compost for your vegetable patch, it has the potential to be a very sombre harvest.

Irish Independent

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