Friday, September 21, 2007

Egg Chasing Time

I've long had a theory about Ireland and sport - we can't seem to get through any large international sporting occasion without turning it into some kind of national drama (usually a tragi-comedy).

Obviously Saipan stands out, but there are loads of examples. Do you remember the huge row over the homecoming in the Phoenix Park for the footballers after the USA '94 World Cup? A nation up in arms when word filtered back that the players didn't want to do it? Then there was the time Sonia O'Sullivan won some race and there was a big outcry over the fact she wouldn't carry a tricolour someone draped around her shoulders and let it drop to the ground.

We also had Michelle Smith and a nation in denial of the truth staring them in the face, including the classic Gay Byrne quote 'Who are these FINA people' when in full 'how dare they' mode. We had the near lynching of Eamon Dunphy when he criticised Big Jack during Italia '90.

Maybe you don't remember this one, but after the Grand National That Never Was in 1993 some English trainer caused uproar across the country by saying something along the lines of 'Even a backward country like Ireland knows how to start a horse race' with Des Lynam going 'Careful now, I'm from there...'!

Then, in recent years, in the rugger, we had 'pig ignorant' Martin Johnson 'snubbing' our president and new villains to villify in Keven Mealamu and Tana Umaga after the spear tackle on Brian O'Driscoll during the British and Irish Lions tour. And, of course, there was all that media-driven crap about God Save The Queen in Croke Park.

Now we have our misfiring peanut-huggers and the dual controversies over the playing of the anthem and the 'attacks' on the squad in the French media. There is so much crap being written and spoken about the anthem you almost couldn't make it up. The gist of it is 'We are not playing as well as we think we should be, we have a rubbish anthem in Ireland's Call (which is true), the Argies cried during their anthem then went and beat France; ergo our rubbish anthem is responsible for our bad performances' Like I said, you couldn't make such shite up.

For starters it does the Argentines a disservice to suggest that the only way they could beat France is to be emotionally charged mentallists (they had done it before after all) and it also ignores the fact that the French were a bag of nerves that night and played brutal. But apart from that just the whole idea, and the amount of sensible people taking it seriously, makes me scream 'Would you ever fuck off!!!' Maybe we're just not as good as we like to think we are - maybe beating crap Welsh, Scottish and English teams has been deluding us, huh?

As for the Irish reaction to what seems like fairly asinine stuff in the French media (I'm only going on what I heard, obviously) it all smacks of a fairly desperate attempt to galvanise the squad in the face of adversity. And the Irish media are playing along with the charade. '[A] series of astonishing attacks made by the French media' my hole! Eddie O'Sullivan sounds more ridiculous by the day.

When it comes to sport no one does ludicrous outrage better than us, and to think we give the English such a hard time...
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