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 |

Comments

walking dead star daniel newman is on the cover of attitude magazine talking about season 8 of the tv show and his instagram fans.  attitude

FullTraffic enables advertisers to reach more people and generate leads using Targeted Traffic Campaigns. Whether you're trying to get the most web traffic for your site or looking to get in front of people in a specific location or industry, we've got you covered.  buy website traffic

We are two independent funeral professionals who provide objective guidance and deliver solutions in all areas relative to advance funeral / cremation planning and death care. Our services extend across many important functions with only one objective; to work with you, and for you, so that we can successfully manage any need on your behalf.  Cremation Planning

Friendly Remodelling specializes in providing bathroom remodelling services in Michigan. We provide services such as Complete Bathroom Renovation, Acrylic Bath Systems, Bathtub to Shower Conversion, Bath Vanities, Bathroom Accessories, Replacement Bathtubs and Shower Bases, & much more.  bathroom remodeling southeast Michigan

Ann Arbor Apartments managed by CMB is a Family Owned and Operated company that has proudly served Ann Arbor since 1992. Since then, we have acquired 17 communities located at premier locations around the U of M Campus. We are the most Awarded Property Management Company in Ann Arbor. The reason is simple. It stems from our philosophy: “Treat all our Residents like Family!”  apartments Ann Arbor

Atlanta Fireplaces provide the best quality fireplaces for homes that are made with supreme quality materials and especially handmade designs which set them apart from any other ordinary fireplace. Fireplaces Atlanta also makes handmade customized designs that meet the customer’s requirement. The company has been serving for 15 years offering Crown-moldings, Stuccos, Fireplace Metals and much more.  fireplaces Atlanta GA

I just found this blog and have high hopes for it to continue. Keep up the great work. its hard to find good ones. I have added to my favorites. Thank You. creative advertising richmond Richmond Virginia

lapakdewapoker88 adalah dewapoker, poker88, poker88 asia, dewapoker online yang sudah berdiri sejak lamah yang memiliki server terbaik di indonesia.  Dewapoker

bola88 adalah agen bola88, bandar bola88, bola88 online, betting bola88 yang memiliki server terbaik agen betting online bola88 terbaik dan terpercaya.  Agen Bola88

Stuart, Florida Urgent Care only $45. Treasure Coast Telecare offers virtual doctor visits via telephone or Internet for only $45.  stuart walk-in clinic

Cosmonovelas te brinda todas las novelas al instante, Grabamos en vivo para ti y somos los primeros en subir los capitulos , te ofrecemos EXITOS COMO: EL SENOR DE LOS CIELOS 5 CAPITULOS , MARIPOSA DE BARRIO CAPITULOS , SIN SENOS SI HAY PARAISO 2 CAPITULOS, MI MARIDO TIENE FAMILIA CAPITULOS, EL SENOR DE LOS CIELOS 5 CAPITULOS COMPLETOS, MI ADORABLE MALDICION CAPITULOS Y MUCHAS MAS NOVELAS. Ver Novelas en cosmonovelas.net  SIN SENOS SI HAY PARAISO 2 CAPITULOS

Like sharing pictures on social platforms? Well, how about a platform which allows you to upload images while contributing to a social cause? ImageVita is one such website. This website provides you the facility to upload your pictures on their portal.  image hosting

Best custom essay writing website offers premium quality essays, term paper and research paper writing services. All our papers are edited and checked for plagiarism and we offer free unlimited amendments on completed essay orders. we also offer fast custom writing up to 3 hour urgency. Order your urgent essay with the best custom essay writing site.  custom essay order

GetFakeData is a free online tool to generate fake data that allows you generate fake data more than 60 languages.  fake zip code

We provide high quality car accessories and is no.1 provider in Australia. We aim to prove our quality all the time.  pioneer carplay

Manitowoc Ice Machines Parts - Direct OEM Supplier : - MANITOWOC Water Inlet Valves Water Pumps Ice Thickness Probes manitowoc ice machines parts  manitowoc parts

We are Odoo Malaysia official partner who will assist you on the development on the system and we provide comprehensive step to ensure every of your business processes map perfectly with Odoo ( Previously known as OpenERP).  Enterprise resource Palaning

Se volete eliminare definitivamente le formiche da casa, in questo sito troverete i migliori metodi e prodotti per scacciarle definitivamente. Inoltre qui potete trovare metodi naturali e fatti in casa per debellare le formiche una volta per tutte.  come eliminare le formiche

Se volete eliminare definitivamente le formiche da casa, in questo sito troverete i migliori metodi e prodotti per scacciarle definitivamente. Inoltre qui potete trovare metodi naturali e fatti in casa per debellare le formiche una volta per tutte.  come eliminare le formiche

During this website, you will see this shape, i highly recommend you learn this review. the mummy movie

Wondering What is transgender? Well, look no further than whatistransgender.com powered by the number transgender news site on the internet TRANZGENDR.com what is transgender

I read a article under the same title some time ago. but this articles quality is much. much better. How you do this موقع خدمات مصغرة

In this A2 Hosting Review, I am introducing you with best shared hosting. You will also get 51% Coupon Code of A2 Hosting. Choosing a reliable web hosting provider can sometimes get messy, especially when there are a lot of choices to make from. A2 host review 2017

Cosmos Yachting offers a wide range of sailing yachts, catamarans and motor yachts in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world such as; Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Spain, Italy, France, the Caribbean, the Seychelles, Thailand, Australia, French Polynesia, Madagascar and many more. Yachtcharter Frankreich

The twitter account of an awesome crypto investor! Crypto Investor

American Singer-Songwriter & Music Producer, Marcus Singleton. His new album, "Chemistry" showcases Marcus' perspective on love, lust and relationships through a range of musical influences of hip-hop, r&b, and neo-soul Spotify Artist

Blue Heaven Online is oneof the largest online stores in India for cakes, flowers and gift items.
Established in 2016, Blue Heaven puts together the invaluable expertise and
creativity to offer one of the best and most amazing cake and combo collections.
Blue Heaven Online is known for its product quality, freshness, commitment and
customer satisfaction. We ensure timely delivery of our products at the best
possible prices. Online Delivery Cake in Bhopal

Flower delivery Brazil, real local florist, same day deliver, accept Paypal, Flower shop Brazil since 1998 present in your best moments... Flower delivery brazil

Light Up Shoes for Toddlers. You want LED Shoes for your Toddler. We get it. They're adorable. But make sure you get a quality pair! This guide will tell you what to look for. Lighting Shoes

Cuộc Sống Mỹ Chia Sẽ & Kết Nối
Nội dung được chia sẽ rộng ri giữa các thành viên . familypawn

This Course In Miracles store offers a range of resources, from books and ebooks to music and videos and downloads. There are also translated materials in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and other languages. We offer the most profound resources and transformational tools for spiritual awakening or enlightenment. course in miracles store

Shop adult sex toys for women and men at Sextoyzone.com! We offer large collections online of the most well-known adult brands and for the best prices! Fast discreet delivery. Friendly customer service. Your satisfaction is our ultimate goal. Sextoyzone

Site is a blog about treating allergies naturally and I promote affiliate products on my posts. I hope to get more traffic to these posts and pages.  natural allergy products

VKinderopvang en kinderdagverblijf in Ommen, waar kinderen zich veilig en vertrouwd voelen en open en persoonlijk contact centraal staat. kinderdagverblijf ommen

Lapak QQ adalah situs agen domino 99 terpercaya dan domino qiu qiu online dengan pilihan permainan capsa poker online bandar q  BandarQ

It's a barbershop my service is the best service in Laval and Montreal . Stylist haircut,facial, wax, beard shaving , hair colors Sniping Promotion Recruiting VFX Designers Clan

You can Get a free hulu account for a full year now and enjoy the best shows  how to get a free hulu account

I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work! unlock your hip flexors scam

We Are Soccer Website For: Fixed Matches, Correct Score, Vip Ticket, Mounthly Subscirbe.
Here Is all details Fixed Matches Today

download lagu dan video terbaru top mancanegara, dangdut, bokep, jav, download bokep, stafaband, muviza, download bokep sma, download video,  download bokep indonesia

Bola88 Bandar Bola88 online, Agen Dan Bola Online Terpercaya 1% Bonus Referral..link alternatif Bola88, Daftar Bola88 Sekarang  Daftar Bola88

FastCarDecals.com has been supplying high quality GMC Decals since 1988 and our vinyl graphic decal stripe packages are amoungst the best that you can buy. Our stripes for the GMC Canyon or Sierra will instantly transform your truck into a muscle truck. The factory OE GMC style graphic racing stripes that we produce can be fitted right of the box and, because we use advanced, precise cutting technology when make our GMC stripes, you can usually install them with virtually no trimming at all.  gmc sierra stripe kit

More than 20 years’ experience in Designing, Consultancy and Construction of Grid connected and Mini grid hydro power plants.  Mini Hydro Power Developers & Consultants

Lytchee est un guide de voyage en ligne qui présente des vidéos et des articles de voyage. Vous trouverez des informations sur notre concept, sur les articles de presse, des récits de voyage classés par destinations, des vidéo reportages et des documentaires de voyage. Plusieurs catégories sont présentées telles que top de cuisine, top d’activités de ville, escapades d’une journée. Vous pourrez aussi regarder des vidéos de 2 minutes résumant le pays.  plage myanmar

Somos especialista com mais de 20 anos de experiência em Defesa Jurídica e Administrativa em reabilitaço de Condutores com CNH Cassada, CNH Suspensa, Pontos na CNH. Atendemos toda regio de So Paulo Capital, Litoral e Interior de SP.  tirar pontos da cnh

findpcrepair.com offers a wide range of technology for your personal computers and related products. We guarantee satisfaction therefore catering as a place to simplify the technical issues for business and personal devices.  remove virus for free

We provide financing for medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries and grows. Including money for real estate, capital flows, and equipment. Marijuana Dispensary Financing.

Find the Sci-Fi or Fantasy Book you Want. You can search books by genre, elements, themes, amount of romance, intimacy, violence, humor, gender and ethnicities of main characters and author's characteristics. What's your pick today?  Fantasy Books

The website is a french website for a hairdresser in the city of Pau,  bon coiffeur pau meilleur coiffeur

I would be supportive on all your articles and blogs as a result of they are simply up to the mark. Pp blown film suppliers in Kolkata