Play Ball

If you know London well enough, take a walk down the Mall; no, not a shopping mall, but Pall Mall. The name was derived from a mallet and ball game called Pell Mell or Paille-Maille that was a favourite game of King Charles II.

That, and badminton, are probably as English as games can get. Golf is Scottish while football (soccer to those who seem to think the World as we know it, lies in the North American continent) has been played for thousands of years by countless ancient civilisations. And in the modern context, the world would be watching one event every four years – the World Cup.

Since this blog came about, this is the second time that the World Cup is being held. And never in the dreams of both Dr Samuel Livingstone and Mungo Park would people from all continents converge onto South Africa to watch people battle it out on a pitch, country against country, tribes against tribes, and nobody dies. And it is during this month-long event, will one catch me watching football. Forget La Liga, EPL and what-nots. I just do not like to watch football.

Well, that statement above is NOT entirely true! Once upon a time, I used to watch Malaysians play football; and the Malaysian team of the 70s through the mid-80s was a force to reckon with. South Korea and Japan were nothing compared to our team. Hell, we even qualified for the 1972 Olympics! That was the epoch of Malaysian football. Somehow, the aspiration of players nowadays differs, and material gains are what drives the current players. I stand corrected but seriously I don’t think we can ever beat South Korea – ever again. I strongly believe I will never see the likes of Soh Chin Aun, Mokhtar Dahari, Santokh Singh, V Arumugam, Wong Choon Wah, ever again – not in this lifetime, judging by the way people play nowadays.

Therefore, I am so sorry when football officials make statements like, “We should support our local football teams.” I won’t waste my money watching people play worse than Seafield Estate United versus Castlefield Estate Rovers.

Unless someone has the guts and stamina to change the mentality of both the players and that of the officials of the Football Association of Malaysia.

Therefore, I shall enjoy the semi-finals and final games of the World Cup 2010, and not look forward to seeing Malaysia beat Red Star Belgrade ever again. Yes, we used to beat them too. And I used to enjoy watching football from on top of a FRU Truck, eating my cold One Ringgit Burger that a pedlar sold me. Those were the days of football at the Merdeka Stadium.

Oh, Seafield Estate is where UEP Subang Jaya (or more commonly known as USJ) is now, while Castlefield Estate is where the IOI Mall of Puchong is now. The football teams, however, are fictitious.

Anyhow, there is a joke on Facebook that’s going around that goes like this:

Three football fans died. A Japanese, A Korean and a Malaysian. They were all granted a question each to God.

“When can Japan win the World Cup?” asked the Japanese fan.

“In 200 years,” God replied, to which the Japanese fan cried.

The Korean fan then asked, “When, oh Lord, can the Korean team win the World Cup?”

“In 300 years,” God replied, and the Korean fan bawled hysterically.

Then the Malaysian football fan approached God.

“When will the Malaysian team win the World Cup?” he asked.

God cried hysterically.