England humiliated in Euro Cup. So what.

Quite a time to be in Yorkshire for 2 weeks.First BREXIT then England’s humiliating loss to Iceland in the Euro Cup.

Back home Jeremy, an ex-pat Brit said he had to reprogram himself after his hysterical reaction to the loss. His wife came into the room while he was screaming at the television.

The British papers and the talking heads all wrote a variant of the above:This is the worst thing to happen since…world war ll.People were literally beside themselves and the jocks were inconsolable.some of the papers went after the millionaires who let the side down.


This from the Daily Mail:

England team has now landed in Luton Airport with luggage including coffee machines, golf clubs and guitars
What does all of this mean?

In 1938 Bertolt Brecht wrote this truism:

Andrea: Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.
Galileo: No, Andrea: Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.

Having lived in England for a year and closely watched its response to Sportsworld, I agree with Brecht. 40 years ago Jackie Charlton a legendary Manchester footballer hipped me to the role of “football” in English working class towns.He was managing a Division 2 club and actually said, “It’s very impoirtant that the lads win on Saturday or the whole town will get depressed for 3 days.”


Legendary soccer coach from Liverpool Bill Shankly put it this way:

Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed … I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.

Really, Bill. Somebody should have told you that you were full of crap.But then e never speak to our idols like that.

People (read true citizens) should never surrender their agency to external forces or unworthy idols like athletic teams.They re simply idols which suborn our energy and our critical faculties.. Bread and circuses have always been the tools of the elite. They are simple diversions from more serious issues which should be attended to. appreciating the skill of athletes is fine but investing too much energy in sport and its clay figures demeans us.

Around 100 C. E. the satirist  Juvenal coined the expression “Panem et Circenses“, literally “bread and circuses”, a way in an increasingly corrupt Rome of diverting the common people from the truly important affairs of state. Give them public baths, gladiators, exotic animals, chariot races, sports (Go Leafs,Cavs, Jays!) and theatre. Things have not changed much particularly in the USA—where celebrity, entertainment and sports fill the void of civic engagement

Iam pridem, ex quo suffragia nulli uendimus, effudit curas; nam qui dabat olim 
already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties;

Continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses. 
everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses

The more alienated and disengaged one becomes from the heart of life the more one surrenders vital energies best used to build up the commons.

Listening to and watching the hysterical reaction to a football game reminds me of my years as a coach and my line: Do not call me coach, I am a teacher.

My friend Jeremy is to be congratulated. His conclusion to England;s defeat: I need to deprogram myself.


No more tears or apoplexy, Jeremy.



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