The Muamba Message

The football world comes together over Fabrice Muamba.
Share |

Real Madrid players wear their message of hope and health to Muamba and Abidal  on their shirts. Image via Flickr.

At time of writing, the Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba is fighting for his life after suffering a cardiac arrest during his side's FA Cup tie at Tottenham Hotspur. His condition is described as critical; it appears that the rapid response of the medics at White Hart Lane has given him a fighting chance at least. One instinctively recalls the likes of Antonio Puerta and Marc-Vivien Foé, who suffered similar calamities and didn't recover. One remembers more hopefully Rubén de la Red and Stâle Solbakken, who did recover. (Remarkably, Solbakken has gone on to a successful career in coaching, a job not otherwise associated with cardiac well-being.) One thinks above all of Muamba's fiancée and young son.

The soccer world in England and beyond has been duly shocked, and has united behind Muamba. On Saturday evening, Andrea Pirlo dedicated Juventus' win over Fiorentina to him. Yesterday, after scoring for Chelsea against Leicester City, Muamba's former Bolton colleague Gary Cahill displayed an undershirt carrying the message "Pray 4 Muamba." At Wolverhampton, Wolves and Manchester United players led the crowd in a round of supportive applause. And before their game against Málaga, Real Madrid's players wore "get well soon" t-shirts, as well as showing their solidarity with Barcelona's Eric Abidal, who is facing a liver transplant, a year after undergoing surgery to remove a malignant tumor.

It's almost part of the ritual to contend that sport doesn't matter at times like this. Sure enough, some of those reporting on the episode last night, as they and we waited for news, expressed this sentiment. It's more than understandable. However, it sent me back to a fine piece by Richard Whittall of The Score's Footy Blog, written shortly after the death of Gary Speed in November:

Yes, football is at its core a game, the very definition of a trivial pursuit. It’s not going to free an oppressed people or cure a terminal illness. But like art, music, literature, it’s a pursuit to which many dedicate their private and/or professional lives. Its loyalties cross uncomfortably into politics and can reflect our worst, brutal selves. At its best however, football offers something as close to transcendent joy as you can. It’s neither false nor irreverent to add that football is one of many things that gives life meaning, that makes it worth living.

The great Bill Shankly's most famous quote—"Someone said to me, 'To you football is a matter of life or death,' and I said 'Listen, it's more important than that'"—is these days only ever raised to be refuted. But something like this doesn't put sport into perspective; for most of us, it already is. There may be an overbearing lunatic fringe for whom that isn't true; philately probably has an overbearing lunatic fringe, too. But for the rest, sport is never life itself nor an utter frivolity. It's more complex than that.

Amongst many other things, sport is an escape. But it can never be a complete escape, because we can't engage in it without giving over something of ourselves to it, and we can never escape ourselves. There is necessarily a distance between the player and the spectator: not just because the player is likely to be a millionaire mercenary, but because the player makes things happen, while we wait for them to do so. But I would venture that watching sport (at any level beyond having the game on in the background while you do something else) is never entirely passive. Players don't just act as providers of stimuli, triggering variously giddy and despairing responses in us. In the space between us and them is an overlap, a mingling of our respective emotions and yearnings.

You don't even need to know much about the contestants; for example, Muamba's life story is particularly extraordinary. You could stumble upon a game involving people or teams completely unfamiliar to you, and it would still come down to this: you find watching the game engaging, and the players find playing it engaging, and via whatever convoluted routes, the two impulses come together on game day. This isn't merely a performance: it is to some degree an act of communion. There may be a barrier between us and them, but it's semi-porous. And it drops completely, if temporarily, at certain points: when your team has scored, or because of one of those moments of indefinable beauty that seem to be guided by some unconscious force, and thus belong not just to their creators, but to all of us. Even between these times, this awareness of us-and-them exists at the level of a background hum. We may be able to tune it out, but when it turns into a roar, it can (albeit thankfully rarely) be a terrible one.

Muamba's collapse was shocking because, well, of course it was: he is a professional athlete, one of our emblems of youthful vigour; it happened in public, in front of tens of thousands in the ground and a worldwide TV audience. But it was also shocking, not to mention dreadfully poignant, because it happened while he was taking part in this act of communion. It may be trite to talk about the "football family", but—and we can extend it to a "sporting family" here—it's nonetheless appropriate. Supporters of both sides chanted Muamba's name. No doubt this was partly out of helplessness: they could offer no practical help, so here was an instinctive spiritual offering. It was also out of empathy for a fellow: not just (just!) a fellow human being, but also a fellow participant.

As Richard says, sport is not life, but it's one of the things that dignify life. And there really is a dignity to it at heart. There's no need to be ashamed of it, or to distance ourselves from it. There is a need, however, to be thankful for it, and for those who commune with us in it. Sport may stop short at moments such as this, but it's what brings us together in the first instance, and it has played its part in dignifying Fabrice Muamba's life. Let us hope that that life has a long way left to run.

Share |


"diwo is a unique cognitive decision-making platform developed by Loven Systems that reveals hidden business opportunities in real-time and empowers business users to act on them. diwo ushers in a new paradigm of opportunity-driven enterprise, one that enables entire organizations to shape their future today." cognitive computing

JCU INTERNATIONAL is a leader in PCB plating technologies, developing innovative solutions for future advancements in electronics and PCB design. We provide a complete range of proprietary chemical solutions and offer a variety of specialty finishes including Satin Nickels and Trivalent Chrome. Our Wixom Research and Development facility is focused on developing new technologies for the U.S. automotive industry. However, as our facility doubles as a support center, we are able to investigate and troubleshoot production issues through various analytical methods. JCU International

This is important, though it's necessary to help you head over to it weblink:

Quitoplan é um suplemento a base de Quitosana que chegou no Brasil em final de 2017 e que oferece um plano de emagrecimento completo além de um aplicativo e alguns ebooks que ensinam a você qual é a melhor forma de usar o Quitoplan. O Quitoplan age bloqueando parte da gordura ingerida que vem sendo eliminada depois pelas fezes. Trata-se de um fitoterápico bem poderoso que realmente ajuda muito a emagrecer. comprar quitoplan

Make the most of mainly premium substances - you will find him or her for: Colorado electronic recycler

It's superior, however , check out material at the street address. social media agency

It's superior, however , check out material at the street address. social media agency

หางานทำ หารายได้เสริม รายได้พิเศษ งานเสริมรายได้ หางานพิเศษ งานทำที่บ้าน งานพาร์ทไทม์ งาน Part time งานผ่านเน็ต งานคีย์ข้อมูล งานเสาร์-อาทิตย์ อาชีพเสริม รายได้ดี รายได้พิเศษ

The Bolenum project will provide the first ethereum based token and exchange
system that is explicitly aimed at increasing African participation in cryptocurrency. The
main aspects of this project are the Boleno tokens, the innovative and secure exchange
system, and a flexible wallet system. altcoin

LoveJoy Counseling provides therapy and counseling services to persons living in Parker, Lone Tree, Aurora and Centennial Colorado. Addiction counseling, dual diagnosis, trauma, abuse and psychosis. Medicaid is accepted. Insurance is accepted. counseling Parker

Boss Laser sells their own designed and engineered laser cutting machines that can laser mark, cut, or engrave any materials.

The Bolenum project will provide the first ethereum based token and exchange
system that is explicitly aimed at increasing African participation in cryptocurrency. The
main aspects of this project are the Boleno tokens, the innovative and secure exchange
system, and a flexible wallet system. altcoin

Simple tips & tricks for better using of your devices & services like windows, office, wordpress, android & ios IOS

I exploit solely premium quality products -- you will observe these individuals on: spiral staircases

I might suggest solely beneficial in addition to trusted facts, and so find it: workplace pensions

Within this webpage, you'll see the page, you need to understand this data. storage plymouth

It's superior, however , check out material at the street address. also does take away and banquets.

I should assert barely that its astounding! The blog is informational also always fabricate amazing entitys. download youtube video

I should assert barely that its astounding! The blog is informational also always fabricate amazing entitys. download youtube video

STREET LUXURY is a global lifestyle brand & modern retailer, specializing in a finite collective of high-end goods. Street Luxury is a register trademark of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All Rights Reserved. Street Luxury Music

Airplanes. These vehicles of our creativity and ingenuity have brought with them a shrinking connecting world, and large corporate brands that are instantly recognized. There is a certain fascination and awe with these winged objects. They bring excitement and wonder to children and adults alike, a small fact we might not openly be aware of. A Plane’s Portrait is a photo series that explores the grace and form of these amazing vehicles, and dwells into our fascination of these amazing aircraft.
A Plane's Portrait grew from a Solo endeavour to a collective of amazing works from talented aviation photographers, showcasing imagery not just from Singapore, but from around the world as well. aircraft photography

Stephmagazine | news and entertainment nigeria | breaking news
r latest Nigerian news and entertainment: visit stephmagazine and get updated breaking nigeria news today. top viral videos

No L's driving school has been has been operating for over 10 years in the Bristol area. Pete Bryce has been qualified with the DVSA for over 13 years and during that time has built up a wealth of experience as Bristols foremost instructor. No Ls driving school serves the whole of the Bristol area and offers high quality driving lessons at affordable prices. All instructors with No Ls driving school have been DBS checked and are Pass plus registered. Bristol driving instructor

Programmi Hacker - Il miglior sito per l'hacking! rubare password instagram

Many guys are plagued with the question: How do I tell if a girl likes me? The 13 most commonly known tactics used by girls to signal they like a guy are discussed. Learn the signs and with practice you will quickly know if you're wasting your time how to tell if a girl likes you

Emprada is an online retailer based in Los Angeles, US that offers the latest in fashion when it comes to dresses, tops, bodysuits, pants, jeans and much more. Shop a variety of collections including Party dresses, Prom dresses, Maxi Dresses, Prom Gowns, Lace Dresses, Club dresses and more. All of their products are elegantly designed by connoisseurs in fashion and trends and are made at the highest quality. sexy maxi dresses

It is somewhat fantastic, and yet check out the advice at this treat. asiam8

ZHK+ ist das Netzwerk für qualitätsorientierte Zahnheilkunde. Wir informieren über aktuelle Themen der Zahnmedizin, bieten Expertenmeinungen und klären auf über Fachbereiche der Zahnmedizin auf.
Mit ZHK+ finden Patienten kompetente und hoch qualifizierte Zahnärzte. Zahnarzt

We are organization For Fixed Matches, guaranteed Win 100%. We guarantee refunding all money and next game free from us.We Sell fixed matches and Soccer Predictions. We are in This business from since 2007. Our game is with high quality direct from players, Fixed Matches pick is (Half time/full time). 1000% Wining Rate guaranteed. No risk of money from credit card or visa card. Your Safety is Priority. We guranteee our clients safety the money he pay to us, the money he pay for the stake. fixed matches

Jake Miller Photos is a unique portfolio featuring beautiful photography from across America. We specialize in supplying commercial and professional projects with high quality, never before seen photographs. Jake Miller is a well known Georgia based photographer. landscape photography

Checkers2 is an online game that allows you to play Spanish checkers in a simple and easy way, without having to install absolutely nothing, all you need is to open your favorite browser, then go to and you're done. checkers2

Pinkuin Yacht charter is one of the world's most respected yacht charter agency, specializing in sailing yacht charters, motor yacht charters, luxury yacht charters, and superyacht charter. You can book your yacht for charter here. Let us help you plan the perfect yacht charter in Greece, Turkey, Spain, France, Croatia, Spain, Italy, and in caribbean. Yachtcharter Kroatien

Make the most of mainly premium substances - you will find him or her for: 天堂私服

End of Tenancy Services is dedicated to providing you with accurate and unbiased guidance on everything you need to know about prices comparisons Quotations of End of tenancy Cleaning, Deep cleaning, Carpet cleaning, Commercial Cleaning, One off cleaning and others related end of tenancy cleaning London

Bienvenue dans l’univers cosmowé, soins naturels pour tous et accessoires.
Cosmowé propose un large choix de produits naturels ou bios pour prendre soin de ses cheveux et de sa peau (visage et corps) pour femmes, enfants et hommes adapté à tout type de cheveu et peau. cosmowé

Solitaire is an independent, Canadian design studio, creating authentic custom-made jewellery and providing expertise in gemstones. Established in 1983, Solitaire's custom, modern-influenced creations are comprised of the finest quality materials, envisioned by designer and artist, Alex Armen.  jewellery stores

It is rather very good, nevertheless glance at the data with this handle seo agency

Company information: Nature's Own Pest & Lawn Services is one of the fastest growing Pest Control Companies in Texas... Our fast growth can be attributed to our attention to detail. We strive for excellence in customer service. Our professionals are taught that the customer is number one. We provide complete training to all our personnel and conduct regular training sessions to insure that our employees are on the cutting edge of pest control technology. local pest control company

I am delighted to read this post and all the details are awesome in this post. Pilood music company

On that website page, you'll see your description, why not read through this. กันขโมยบ้าน

On that website page, you'll see your description, why not read through this. กันขโมยบ้าน

Our site is a niche website. We wan't to help people to find heater. Especially infrared heaters. So the people can find help and infos on our website. We wan't to help them to find the right infrared heaters. The people can get a much of informations on our website. Infrarotheizung Test

Providing Press Releases for Individuals and Businesses Press Releases, Add-on Facebook IG Tracks, Site Increased Traffic buy facebook likes taiwan

Ed is a dedicated Nashville estate planning lawyer who is recognized for being in the"Top 40 Under 40" in Tennessee, as a recipient of Avvo's "Client's Choice Award", and for having a 5 Star Avvo Rating. Wills

Fotograf Białystok uwiecznia najwspanialsze i najszczęśliwsze momenty w dniu ślubu i pary. Fotografia ślubna zapisuje momenty i okresy czasu, by nowożeńcy po latach mogli z przyjemnością wracać do fotograf ślubny Białystok. BIAŁYSTOK FOTOGRAF

【週刊報道サイト】買取屋 南岩国店に家宅捜索 買取屋 南岩国店

【週刊報道サイト】リサイクル三十一号に出頭命令! リサイクル三十一号

【週刊報道サイト】ブックマーケット 尾道店刑事告訴される! ブックマーケット 尾道店

【週刊報道サイト】ブックマーケット 玉島店刑事告訴される!ブックマーケット 玉島店

【週刊報道サイト】ブックマーケット 笠岡店刑事告訴される!ブックマーケット 笠岡店