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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Get on with the bloody game

It looks like this week's debacle will be the last time that the Olympic torch will be toured around the world's capital cities. Good. And while we're at it can we get rid of all the attendant hoo-hah that has grown up around all major sporting occasions in order to satisfy the cravings of sponsors, TV producers, politicians and anyone else who seeks to use such events to "harness the power of sport" to sell gym pumps, energy drinks or a country's political system.

Let's also see an end of: choreographed dancing displays, huge flags passed down from the back of the stand to the front, any form of singing that could be said to be organised, ticker tape that some poor bugger has to pick up, pre-match firework displays in broad daylight that leave the action invisible for the first ten minutes, the cup "delivered" by abseiling parachutists, prize presentations that involve the hurried building of stages in the middle of the pitch, minutes' silences for any tragedy that didn't directly involve the people involved, pop singers doing melismatic versions of national anthems and, yes, even small children holding the hands of hung-over millionaires.

Anyone who thinks that major sporting occasions can be rendered more gripping by the addition of such nonsense should be disqualified from ever having anything to do with a sporting occasion. We don't need it. It gets in the way. It's nothing but trouble.