Sports writers and commentators occasionally use the term “a fairytale ending” to describe a particularly exciting game won late in the day, or perhaps a sporting career which ends perfectly, as if it were scripted. It is a curious phrase, because if these writers and pundits were better acquainted with the work of The Brothers Grimm, the nineteenth-century German polymaths, they would know that not all fairytales end happily. If you have an unruly child, make it read The Juniper Tree as punishment, and sit and chuckle at the nightmares that ensue. But we understand what the phrase conveys, or is intended to convey: the Prince saves the Princess, marries her, and they live happily ever after. A fairytale ending.
In the last fortnight, two well-known professional sports players finished their international careers. A fairytale ending was a summation deservedly enjoyed by and allotted to English cricketer Stuart Broad, who finished his international career in fine style. There was a fairytale ending of the other variety for American soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
The final time Broad touched a cricket ball professionally, he took a wicket which levelled the latest series of the most famous cricket competition in the world, and his face lit up with deserved joy. The last time Megan Rapinoe touched a football — okay, soccer ball — in her professional capacity, she blasted the penalty, as we say in the United Kingdom, into Row Z. Back seats in the bleachers (but wrong sport for that).
Broad fell in love with his national game early, being the son of England batsman Chris Broad. Stuart intended to be a batsman like his dad until he shot up to 6’ 5” in his teens and decided to be a fast bowler. Height is a decided advantage in that category because the ball usually bounces on the turf between delivery and batsman, and the extra bounce from a tall man is a menace if you face it as a batter. Broad exuded pride not just in playing for his country, but also for his home county, Nottinghamshire. His final performance in an England shirt was almost inevitably blessed, but still left us biting our nails until the last wicket. A great sportsman, a great Englishman, a fairytale ending.
Now let’s look at another fairytale ending. Megan Rapinoe is a pug-ugly lesbian with a homeless person’s haircut and a face that could curdle a glass of milk. But that isn’t her fault (well, the haircut is). Hating the country that put her where she is, with a net worth of $5 million and various media platforms happy to broadcast her snotty, arrogant opinions, is her fault. She is a good player, in the context of the women’s game, but she is not a good American. The final kick of her career was, frankly, pathetic. Trump saw it as a symbol of American decline.
Broad’s last ball in cricket was unplayable, if you know the game. Bowling to a left-handed batsman, it meant that (as with the previous wicket of Murphy) what are in-swingers to a right-hander are out-swingers to a leftie, a sentence I feel only British readers will understand. Tail-ender Alex Carey pushed his bat forward into the “corridor of uncertainty” which talented bowlers can find, got an edge, and the ball was efficiently taken by the diving wicket-keeper, Jonny Bairstow. Match won, although not the series, sadly. Looking poised for a series-levelling win during the crucial fourth test, the English rain swept in, and so too did the cricketing frustration it often brings with it. Test cricket is, to the best of my knowledge, the only game that lasts up to 30 hours of playing time (if it doesn’t rain) and can still end in a draw.
Rapinoe’s last kick has, as the young people say, gone viral, and one thing became clear when the smoke and dust of social media settled. Average Americans hate her, and rightly so. Her blatant disrespect for her country’s national anthem made many pundits query what the hell she was doing out on the field in the first place. Colin Kaepernick, as you know, started this nonsense, and drew worldwide attention despite being, allegedly, a mediocre player (not to mention resembling a bobble-headed Jackson 5 puppet). Watch the Serbian team singing their anthem at the World Cup in 2018, building themselves up for what was ahead, joined by their countrymen in the stands.
Now watch Rapinoe and her friends taking time off from clam-munching to “take the knee” when the United States’ famous anthem was played. If anyone can tell me who the gal is in the middle, hand on heart, standing proudly, give her my best wishes. That’s how you do it.
I am not going to criticize women’s soccer because I rather enjoy it. I prefer their attitude to actually playing the game rather than trying to increase their market value as individual players. They aren’t as petulant as their male counterparts. As I write, England are advancing in the same World Cup the US has just been knocked out of by Sweden, and the media in the UK are excited because one of their star players is black. However, Lauren James thought it a good idea to stomp on a Nigerian opponent lying on the ground. It may not look serious, but if you stand on someone’s back wearing studded boots, you could paralyze them. James was sent off and, I believe, misses the next game. The English women’s team, just after they beat the old enemy Germany in the 2022 European final, were deemed too white by the BBC. Perhaps there is a reason for that.
Rapinoe’s penalty was dreadful, but penalty-taking looks easy until you try it yourself, plus you have to factor in the pressure of playing on the world stage. Some of the best players in the modern game have missed spot-kicks. And no living Italian will ever forget Robert Baggio’s World Cup Final miss against Brazil in 1994.
England’s men’s team got themselves to the 2020 European final against Italy, and the game was decided on penalties. Manager Gareth Southgate thought it would be a good idea, after two white players had smashed home their spot-kicks, to nominate three young blacks for the remaining penalties. Who cares about the game, as long as your credentials are in order as a guilty white? Every single black player missed, and effectively lost the game for England. If you watch the shootout you will see that, for some unexplained reason, every black had to do a little dance before their failed kicks, some of which were worse than Rapinoe’s. What is it about blacks that everything has to be some kind of a performance? Just pop the ball in the onion bag, rude boy, and stop showing off. If you ever take a penalty, watch how West Ham legend Julian Dicks did it. That said, Rapinoe didn’t even hit the woodwork, she just blasted it over the bar. But it wasn’t the miss, it was the smirk afterwards. She seemed not to be bothered that she just cost the team, and her country, the game, and therefore the trophy.
I fully understand the argument that pride in one’s country is pride in chance. It is not your achievement to be English or American, it’s your parents’ work, and grandparents, and further back. If I feel proud to be English it seems as vicarious as being proud of having brown eyes. But there is a lot more to it than that. If I feel proud to be English it has bugger-all to do with me. It has to do with a country that once ran the world and gave the English language to that same world. England now looks like, well, Rapinoe’s penalty: all bluster and hype but ultimately no goal. But at least we still have the likes of Stuart Broad to perk us up a bit.
It would be grossly unfair not to mention the other England bowler who finished off the Aussies, Moeen Ali. As his name suggests, he is a Muslim. Actually, given that Ali has what is probably the biggest beard in English cricket since the famous W. G. Grace played his last innings in 1899, you might get a clue from that — a beard, as one of the characters once said in Blackadder, you could hide a badger in.
But Ali gave me food for thought. I always disliked the fact that white sporting nations, and teams, were increasingly represented at national level by non-whites. What is the point of calling yourself “the French national football team” if this is what your team looks like? Why not just call yourselves “Africa” and save us all the confusion? But we whine about the lack of integration by immigrants in England, and Ali proved that there is no better way to integrate into your adoptive country than to represent the national team at the highest level in what is the national game.
The American right-of-center media predictably crowed with delight at Rapinoe, so I turned my attention to how the news of her howler penalty was received in England. I suggest reading a piece in the Daily Mail by a man called Jason Whitlock (I think the Mail bought it in rather than Whitlock actually writing it for them). Apparently, Whitlock was an American football player himself, and is now a columnist and podcaster. It is rare that sports writing makes me laugh, but Whitlock nails Rapinoe (first time that’s ever happened): “Rapinoe is the ultimate pimp. She is the Andrew Tate of LGBTQ feminism.”
There is a simple lesson here: Don’t step out wearing your national shirt to play any sport if you hate your own country. Stuart Broad obviously loved club and country, while Rapinoe loved money and attention. She showed that with the dismissive way she skewed a vital penalty into the crowd then smirked about it afterwards.
So, a tale of two broads, one of whom was a credit to his country as well as one of the finest-ever players of the national game; the other who was and is a disgraceful little dyke with no respect, no class, and no love for her country. Broad and Rapinoe had very different fairytale endings. I enjoyed both.
* * *
Counter-Currents has extended special privileges to those who donate $120 or more per year.
- First, donor comments will appear immediately instead of waiting in a moderation queue. (People who abuse this privilege will lose it.)
- Second, donors will have immediate access to all Counter-Currents posts. Non-donors will find that one post a day, five posts a week will be behind a “Paywall” and will be available to the general public after 30 days.
- Third, Paywall members have the ability to edit their comments.
- Fourth, Paywall members can “commission” a yearly article from Counter-Currents. Just send a question that you’d like to have discussed to [email protected]. (Obviously, the topics must be suitable to Counter-Currents and its broader project, as well as the interests and expertise of our writers.)
To get full access to all content behind the paywall, sign up here:
Paywall Gift Subscriptions
- your payment
- the recipient’s name
- the recipient’s email address
- your name
- your email address
To register, just fill out this form and we will walk you through the payment and registration process. There are a number of different payment options.
Enjoyed this article?
Be the first to leave a tip in the jar!
The Union Jackal, November 2023
Used to Be a Bad Guy: Carlito’s Way at 30
Jimmy the Greek: Race Realism Martyr
Closing Down the Stations of the Cross
Odyssey 2.0: Mike Leigh’s Naked, 30 Years On
Never the Twain: Notes on Logic and Morality
The Union Jackal, October 2023
Judgment Day for Israel and Palestine