The Cork Board

The Main Event

Football comes back and there’s bound to be lots of grumbling about it taking over TV diverting airtime from the daily re-runs of old crap. I have already seen an ongoing rant about football contributing less to the economy than the Arts but getting more coverage. It seems to me that people who don’t like football should reconcile themselves to the fact that millions do and just let it pass them by.

The Premier League has a global reach so it is not going to ignore its public for long. The depth of that global reach was driven home to me when, on our trip to Cambodia in 2018, it being a largely “closed” country emerging from dark times ( and probably still in them to a large extent), I was amazed to come across a huge advertising board for some soft drink using the image of Sergio Aguero in his Man City kit, in a small village. Not the metropolis. See, the show must go on.

On a recent trip to the local supermarket I dutifully joined the socially distanced queue (Brits love a queue) and thought I would dip into a book on my phone. My first experience of SDQs had precipitated conversations with strangers along the lines of “we’re all in this together”ness, but now it seems the novelty has worn off and we’re back to ignoring each other again. I have a few “dipping into” books on my phone for such occasions. You know, a tyre change, waiting for your take-away, stuff. So “dipping book” it was. Best American Poetry 2015. Perfect for 2 minutes to 20.

Head down with an occasional shuffle forward I came across this absorbing poem by Donald Platt.  I’d never heard of any of this and couldn’t wait to get home and check it out on the Webster.

Paret and Griffith… sportsmen


A troublesome fight which caused the death of Paret and the eternal grief of Griffith. And the consequential banning of live boxing events for a decade. You can find all the detail here . You can imagine my irritation when it was my turn to enter the store and I still hadn’t finished reading.

… Cassius, as he was then …

But it did remind me of 1963/64 and my school bus journey that winter. The newspapers were full of some young wippersnapper called Cassius Clay who was taking on the champ. I bet a friend, based upon no knowledge at all, 3d (old money, now about 1p) that  Cass would win. When he did I remember collecting my winnings on the bus that morning on the way to school knowing that, given that we were only 9 years old, his parents had coughed up. One – nil to Al, and fortunately I never really took to betting.

I seem to have wandered into the arena of sport and it’s global impact. For those who are not sports fans all I can say is that it must be tough sometimes. Sport is a sanitised competition of individuals and tribes. Rather that than warfare. I often recall the 1960s as a time of sun and fun. I was pubescent and finding my feet with all the travails that that entails. The music was ground-breaking and young –  ours.

I have since learned, of course, that there was a whole load of significant history happening all over the world that we didn’t know about.

Anyway, time to wash my hands. Stay safe, dear reader. It may be tough, but it’s not the end of the world…  we will return. …. ” after changes, we are more or less the same..” (Paul Simon)


2 thoughts on “The Main Event”

  1. Hello from the USA. I’m only 5% of the sports fan that I once was, but I probably will watch a bit of professional baseball and basketball on TV soon. Nobody will be in the stands, but at least the players won’t be wearing masks (I think).

    Neil Scheinin

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