The Soccer Battlefield (Satis Shroff)
Soccer is a battlefield of nations,
A krieg of ethnic groups from the globe.
A place where people become tolerant and peaceful,
But when a title and a trophy are at stake.
The basic instinct takes command,
Men go wild.
The team is a tribe with warriors,
Who slog for the benefit of the whole.
Sometimes there are fighters
Who can route the opponents alone,
With stamina, power and strong will.
When a team loses it releases tears of loss, shame and hopelessness.
If a team wins there’s euphoria in the air,
Charged with adrenalin, oxytocin and endorphine,
Surging in bloodstream,
Happiness knows no bounds.
The measuring of muscles, strength and ingenuity
Of the contestants.
In the arena men become lions
In archaic moments of victory,
And are in reality gladiators
Who raise their limbs in heroic poses,
Jeering at the emotional masses,
Parade their gleaming sweaty torsos,
Remove their monochrome tricots,
And throw them to the eager fans.
Ah, this moment of triumph,
When the thumbs of the spectators go up,
Amid ecstatic shrieks of glee.
The winner takes it all at this crucial moment.
The trainer with the wrinkled, tormented face,
Takes it as a compliment,
When his strategy wins.
The Netherlands overruns Spain’s defences,
Undermining its tiki-taka tactics.
The Teutons say ‘the ball is round,’
Meaning you never know where it’ll land.
Great football nations thus take their hats,
Dazed, out-dribbled and knocked out,
Against the fantasy-rich legwork of dwarf nations.
A military game,
Where the job is to field the right elite fighters,
To combat the bulwarks and systems of the antagonists,
For a hunt for a ball in the jungle of extremities,
With a subjective hawk-eyed whistle-blower,
Who sees, misjudges and does not pipe,
For the hidden elbow-checks, blows and kicks,
On the anatomy of the opponents go unseen.
What counts is whether the ball was inside the goal or not,
Captured frozen, digital images:
Goal or no goal.
If it’s a goal the brain gives a command to the body:
A club game is a small affair,
But a world championship is a national happening,
With coloured flags, war-paint on the faces,
National hymns and rhythms.
The German commentator speaks
Of ‘sugar-hut’ when he means Brazilians.
The British press writes:’German panzer stopped.’
Italy is out and Les Blues wins a game.
A war by proxy,
Not in the killing fields of Verdun and Stalingrad,
But in soccer stadiums in South America.
United we stand, divided we fall,
Has been internalised in the microglia of the brain.
The soccer clubs import these very world players,
But Soares fights for his country today.
It’s war, competition, performance,
Whereby the best team wins,
Ready to take risks,
Play the game
In fighting spirit.
Casualties are a part of the game,
For you’ve been licking the wounds of the last battle.
Between dribbling Rio has diverted public money
For soccer tournaments.
Lula da Silva’s fame is soured by scandals,
Transport, health and education have been lagging.
It’s a Burridan’s choice between domestic needs
And foreign luxury.
Yellow cards make the rounds,
With the blessing of Amnesty International,
To wage a war against the violence of the soccer state.
Violence against humans,
Structural and economic violence,
Not to speak of the dead,
At the hands of the police,
Your friend and helper.
The Brazilians under the poverty-line,
Pay dearly for the world cup.