- “All I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football,” the young goalkeeper would later write.
It has come to my attention, in the latest of latter hours of this demi-hungover morning, that a French soccer blog called “Arrets de jeu,” accessible through Le Monde, has been revitalized for this year’s World Cup. It was inaugurated four years ago for the 2006 World Cup but had been on hiatus for the last two years—ince the last European Cup, that is to say —and has now come back to keep everyone alert, in its refreshingly atypical way, to the progress, promise and, after the first match, mildly lamentable performances of France’s beloved national team, “les Bleus.”
Mildly lamentable performance? Well, Friday’s “match nul,” France’s zero-sum game against Uruguay, has certainly given fans “un petit peu” to bemoan, though the consequences aren’t likely to be too grave. The blog will surely soon feature some reflections thereupon.
A “refreshingly atypical” blog? Indeed. Though for some, admittedly, it might rather be called “essentially useless.” At any rate, it will certainly please certain enthusiastic selves in soccer-besotted solitude—myself, for example, and maybe you and your (lack of) present company as well.
Pourquoi? Well, billed as an example of “litterature footballistique” (“footballistic literature” is an accurate translation, lame though it sounds), Friday’s post, “Il était une foi,” opens with a Colette quote, then goes on to describe one’s passion for soccer through a two-tiered understanding of love, concluding that the kind of love that renders one an “idiot,” the kind of pure love that is so satisfying that one can’t but live and act through its aura, is the proper “amour” for soccer, particularly when its import is most globally momentous.
The post then goes on to make a loose reference to Baudelaire (and pointing it out, no less, in parentheses such as these) before briefly delving into the beautiful “unforeseeability” that governs soccer matches, the talent-driven though chance-ridden melange of forces both somewhat predictable and greatly spontaneous that can allow for—as in amorous relations, of course—upsets and surprises as much as it can satisfy, in general, high expectations. (Yes, one might say that this “melange” is the same for all sports, essentially, and that maybe that’s why we play them and so forth. One might also make certain parallels to currencies and other market-related matters, but one will, though quite begrudgingly, refrain.)
Following all that, then, and alongside several other references to the intended “poetic” lens through which this blog aims to envision “le football,” one finds an embedded video that might seem, if only due to its source, a bit out of place in the blog’s allegedly literary context, but that nonetheless reflects one of the more fundamental joys shared by World Cup fans everywhere—the joy of engaging, that is, in frequently meta-linguistic and cross-cultural dissing.
So please, enjoy, on behalf of the writers at “Arrêts de jeu” and the blogosphere of Le Monde, this YouTube clip of The Simpsons, in which Homer discovers Australia and makes a sexually sensitive pun about Uruguay. You’ll even hear it all over again in a handful of different languages, some of which translate the joke more loosely than others. Listen closely.
After all that, reflect for just a moment on the quote, attributed to Erwan le Duc, at the top of the blog’s page: “La coupe du monde est la preuve que la vie seule ne suffit pas,” or “The World Cup is proof that life alone is not enough.”
Who ever said it was?
Anyway, have fun following the games. As an amorously poetic ‘idiot’ for a certain team or not.