Sports ‘n’ Things- Sports: a world apart from world issues

"Anyone who believes 9/11 did not change the world for the worse just has refused to pay attention."

Anyone who believes 9/11 (no, not the part that it’s my birthday) did not change the world for the worse just has refused to pay attention. And yet, there is one overriding constant, inexplicable as it may be – soccer.

Nothing, it seems, can halt either domestic or international soccer schedules, at least not for any meaningful length of time. Nations and corporations alike field teams no matter the circumstance.

You have a civil war in your midst? Send your soccer team to fight for an opportunity to play in a FIFA event, even if it is just a friendly (exhibition), kind of, warmup, match for the, “real thing.”

Your economy is in the dumpster, people are homeless and starving and being abused on the streets and in their homes? C’mon, there are plane trips to book, hotels to arrange, because there is an IOC qualifier to play.

None of the plagues, scourges or instability of the supposedly modern world seem to interfere with countries, and cities, bucking up for venues and salaries and travel and kit for representative soccer teams and and the, “privilege,” of hosting same.

Brazil, where the, “economic miracle,” has not made a dent in the number of millions who live in slums, yet just hosted the World Cup of Soccer and will soon be home to the IOC’s big party, is not even, by a long shot, the worst example.

Famine-stricken African nations refuse to re-purpose what little material wealth they have away from expensive attempts to qualify for regional or international finals, and those qualifying attempts become more expensive at each level. Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc., continue to field teams in all competitions despite the duress under which their systems and citizens find themselves.

It should be puzzling, but it seems when Karl Marx intoned that religion was, “the opiate of the masses,” he was just unaccountably missing out on the historic lesson that even breadless (for many citizens of many societies) circuses serve to distract those masses as well as any religious ritual, so that those with power can continue their pursuits for good or (mostly) ill.

Changing the guard at FIFA, despite all the fuss surrounding the process, will have no positive effect – will do little or nothing to improve attitudes of either the haves or the have-nots of the world, it seems – just the way changing the occupants of the behemoth seats at the IOC has improved nothing.

Thoughtful people should know that peace has no chance until all boots on the ground, including the pairs worn by those involved in the most popular, and money-driven, sports in the world, are less important than food and literacy and the environment.

The response around the world, particularly the wide world of sports to the most recent set of crises indicates priorities will not be changing any time soon.

• No local hockey for a full two weeks, in either of the area’s arenas!

Perhaps the BCHL and KIJHL schedule makers need a lesson in economics, or priorities. At least the Nitehawks, inasmuch as they are involved in, “Movember,” have one more home date this month. Smokies are away until Dec. 4.