So it's over. The streets were almost deserted on Sunday evening. Any public place without a wide screen TV might as well have shut for the night. Even I watched the last half hour. I saw extra time and the only goal. But why is football so special? In Medieval times FIFA would have been accused of sorcery, of controlling people's minds with magic chants or with magic football dust. 'How else could this worldwide obsession happen?' a person from Medieval Times would have said.
So humour me for a moment or two and consider what the world would be like if that magic dust had been sprinkled over the Sack Race rather than football:
- All local parks would have Sack Race fields.
- Shops would sell designer sacks in local teams' colours at prices that unashamedly exceeded costs.
- Any self-respecting kid would have his own sack. Girls would sometimes have sacks but men would inexplicably consider girls to be temperamentally unsuitable for the game.
- People would drive round with tiny sacks in their team's colours flapping from their car windows.
- Drunken fans would sing Sack Race chants, 'Come on you Bouncers!'
- The top Sack Racers would earn more money that was good for them but their careers would be short-lived due to repetitive strain injury on their knees from all the bouncing.
- Children would look up to Sack Race stars even though they elbowed, pushed and tripped up other Sack Race competitors.
- Those same Sack Race stars would be driven to playing 'dirty' because the prize for winning... the chance to hold that golden Sack Race Cup at the end of the World Cup Sack Race meant so very much to them and their fans.
OK, so it was only pretend but football is just a game where men kick a bouncing ball around. How did it come to mean so much to so many people?