Friday, March 2, 2007

Brave New Game - tonyellis

Many years ago, channel-hopping was actually considered for the Olympics as a kind of triathlon, involving as it did the skills of jumping the dog, sprinting to the set and beating up your little sister. At least it did in my house; whether because of my parents’ foresight in recognising the dangers of childhood obesity represented by the remote control or the latter’s stubborn resistance to having been invented, I’m not sure. Sadly, my sister grew bigger and more aggressive, which is how I came to watch Korfball.

It was on Channel 4, of course, late one night. The ‘philosophy’ of this combination of team chess, netball and rambling, apart from emphasising co-operation over individual flair, means that teams are made up of an equal number of men and women.

You may be surprised to hear that, far from being the invention of a 1980s left wing council committee meeting charged with involving young people through non-sexist, not-too-threateningly competitive sport, the game dates back to the year 1902. What is not surprising is that it fails to attract huge crowds or juicy broadcasting packages.

I suppose that morally we ought to prefer the world of Korfball and if it came to hosting a training camp or giving my blessing on my daughter’s marriage plans, there would be no contest. I might change my allegiance to Korfball tomorrow, if only it could be imbued with a little of the excitement of football. Yet this is an impossible dream: to add to korfball the elements that attract me to football would make it, well, football.

So why not try to introduce the ethos of Korf to Foot? After all, this is a nice game; the Woodcraft Folk could play it without risking too many parental complaints. Of course, that’s hardly an original idea; commentators and newspaper columnists have been involved in this project for years.

Up until now, these warriors for decent behaviour have largely restricted themselves to an internecine battle for hyperbolic supremacy, as reprehensible cuts down disgraceful, only to be crushed in its turn by despicable. I suspect that most would be happy to leave it at that, yet what if they banded together and actually began to have an effect? Would those digital revisionists be turning their attention from cleaning Bogart’s grimace of fags to leaving Cantona’s kick hanging safely in mid-air? Would a host of potential Zidanes, Bellamys and Fowlers be banned for life for sulking whilst representing a cubs’ eleven? I fear so.

Then what are we to do? Accept the kind of behaviour which spoils (BIFF!), mars (POW!!) and sullies (KERSPLATT!!!) the game? Even applaud it, perhaps? Maybe the status quo is the ideal situation: we can shake our heads over the latest example of how the game is going to the dogs and then download it on youtube to enjoy it in guilty secrecy.

The diving; the headbutts; the shirt-pulling; the outrageous celebrations; the time-wasting? In the words of Huxley’s savage, "I claim them all".

16 comments:

andrewm said...

tony, I've no idea what this was about yet I enjoyed it immensely.

Take that as you will.

And send more next week.

olivier said...

offsideintahiti said...

I'm lost too. A word of explanation, perhaps?

50KaWeekSub said...

Same for me - fits into the surreal catergory; I liked it for that.

tony said...

Thank you all - I've always wanted to be a misunderstood writer. Huxley's Brave New World/korfball/people compaining about the 'negative' aspects of football. It seemed clear to me at the time but I think I'll stick with 50k's 'surreal'...

MotM said...

I got it and enjoyed it. Both my kids are members of the Woodcraft Folk, and a fine body of Folk they are. Korfball I remember from College days, almost being press-ganged into joining the KorfSoc or whatever at Freshers' Fayre, when all I was trying to do was get to the second-hand record stall to see if they had Electricity by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark on blue vinyl.

I felt this piece had a touch of Lukas Moodysson's "Together" movie. Good Stuff!

olivier said...

offsideintahiti said...

is there something I should have read/watched in order to better understand this?

I mean, I have read Brave New World, but that was a while ago and now it's buried in my sister's basement in France with all my other books, boohoohoohoo...

olivier said...

offsideintahiti said...

This is my third reading and it's only a little bit less obscure. But is it only because it's well crafted that I keep coming back to it?

MotM said...

Apparently the powers that be are digitally removing the smoking from Tom and Jerry cartoons, but leaving in all the violence.

To touch such masterpieces at all is sacrilege.

50KaWeekSub said...

Like any good piece it's worth a re-read. Have to say that this would push for a Bronze medal IMHO out of the 9 "winners" I have seen on BB. The fact that many people are asking, "what the feck(?)", is in my view a good thing.

levremance said...

Tony - I don't really understand Korfball and BNW was a long time ago for me, soccer well I'm out of that loop, yet I'll probably read this again tomorrow and wonder and smirk.

Ebren said...

I quite liked this, but you have to buy into reading it, and keep going to the end to 'get' it.

I enjoyed muchly though.

Possibly suffered as a result of all the other league cup final pieces sent in.

guitougoal said...

I didn't get it(probably the culture gap, for living in the most "debrainised" part of the world) but I liked it- I am with you about a -status quo -if we love it the way it is- If we are looking for the perfection, it will never arrive.

bluedaddy said...

It is always a pleasant surprise to learn something new. Although I am currently in my fifth decade on the planet, I have never heard the word korfball, let alone knew how it was played. A quick google has revealed more,

http://www.englandkorfball.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=12&Itemid=100
It looks mental!

I can see why GU wouldnt publish it, but I wish they had. As a piece of writing I really like it.

Ebren said...

No way!

I assumed it was made up. I don't know whether to be more or less impressed.

Curses.

bluedaddy said...

I checked out the video. A bit more dynamic than the website I linked to above.
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-6634147739818216070&q=korfball

We appear to have gender adjusted basketball, without the backboard to make it easy. Looks good, but I just dont get the gender thing. Any explanations from you korfballers?

olivier said...

offsideintahiti said...

That video is obviously made up as well. This certainly doesn't exist as a sport. I'm even more impressed that tonyellis went to the trouble of hiring extras and shooting a fake video to go with his piece of fiction.

Tweet it, digg it