On the beautiful game and political passivity

Joshua Korber Hoffman takes us through a Saturday filled with musings on football, politics and the environment

Joshua Korber Hoffman

" I look up at Cole and Hargreaves, who have now moved on to how the West Brom manager has a tough job on his hands, and feel like I am in an alternate universe"Left: INSTAGRAM/UNCLIMATECHANGE; MIDDLE: WIKICOMMONS; RIGHT: INSTAGRAM/BBCFOOTBALL

I wake up late today, go downstairs and turn on the TV. It’s Saturday. Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves are explaining to me how Everton will utilise James Rodriguez against West Brom. Humphrey, Cole and Hargreaves. The Holy Trinity of mindless sporting entertainment. All is well.

Then I pick up my phone and read the news alert. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. I look up at Cole and Hargreaves, who have now moved on to how the West Brom manager has a tough job on his hands, and feel like I am in an alternate universe. There’s a disconnect; it’s like watching The Shining but with the Match of the Day theme playing over it. Have they not heard the news? Have they heard the news but decided that the defensive shape of a mid-table Premier League club is more important than grieving and despairing at the loss of a human being and potentially a nation’s upholding of women’s rights?

“Was there Premier League football in The Handmaid’s Tale?”

I’m gutted. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has brought everything that I’ve tried desperately to push to the back of my mind (the inevitable destruction of the planet, the incoming second wave of coronavirus, the possible Trump re-election) to the fore. And now The Handmaid’s Tale is coming to life.

Was there Premier League football in The Handmaid’s Tale? I don’t remember it being mentioned. Owen Hargreaves doesn’t seem to have an opinion on the matter. Seemingly all he cares about is Carlo Ancelotti’s preferred zonal marking system. I don’t blame him. Football feels like the only thing that carries on regardless. The only thing that can promise to provide me with joy every weekend. It’s a big responsibility for the Arsenal manager – to be solely in control of my mental health.

“It’s a big responsibility for the Arsenal manager – to be solely in control of my mental health”

If Arsenal lose this weekend I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll get out and protest on the streets? Or start fighting for justice wherever I see it challenged? At least for a single second consider making a positive change to the world? The thought crosses my mind. But then Diangana scores a beautiful goal to make it 1-0 to West Brom, and any ideas about resolving the world’s ills fades away. A West Brom lead wasn’t what Joe Cole predicted. Fascinating.


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So, I decide to stop reading about the speculative picks to replace RBG. Instead, I wonder who will score the last goal before the end of the world. As forest fires and hurricanes close in around us and all that’s left is Gary Lineker standing in the middle of a field holding a microphone and a packet of crisps. Probably Jamie Vardy. I must remember to make him my Fantasy Football captain.