Sunday, 18 March 2012

The day sport became irrelevant

Today was the first Formula One Grand Prix of the season. Kimi Reikkonen returned to the fray which meant there were six former champions on the grid. Also back was a black and gold Lotus livery – it was wonderful to see it. I shan’t say who won in case you have yet to watch it.

But in the UK all sport has taken a back seat to humanity this weekend. In the F A Cup Quarter Final match between Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) and Bolton Wanderers one of the Bolton players, 23 year old Fabrice Muamba, collapsed and required CPR on the pitch in front of a crowd of 30,000 and millions of TV viewers. Medics spent six minutes trying to resuscitate the former England under-21 international on the field after he fell to the ground with no other players around him. Medical staff gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Muamba, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) but moved to England at the age of 11. They also tried to revive him with a defibrillator.

The 23-year-old remains critically ill in the intensive care unit of the heart at-tack centre at the London Chest Hospital but that is better than most of us anticipated after watching the event. I’m pleased to say ESPN had the decency not to show any close-up pictures of the event itself and concentrated on showing the reactions of the crowd and other players which was bad enough. The whole crowd, supporters of both sides, chanted Fabrice’s name as the paramedics and doctors worked. If anything could bring a man back from the brink it would be the genuine response of everyone present. After Fabrice had been taken to hospital the game was abandoned. No one – players, officials nor crowd was in a condition to carry on. Football would have been irrelevant after what had happened.

It’s only a fortnight since I quoted Bill Shankly - "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that." It was not meant seriously and, even if it had been, yesterday’s events would have refuted it for ever. Whatever religion / philosophy you hold a prayer or thought would be appreciated by his fiancée and family.


  1. I will pray for him.
    It was right to abandon the game, but I doubt very much if that would have happened here. Professional American football is just too much now about money and is one of the reasons that I don't watch it anymore. (Many years ago, I never missed a game and even had season tickets for the Atlanta Falcons!)

  2. Heart attacks and strokes seem not to be very discnerning when it comes to their choice of victims... When my husband died (completely out of the blue, with no known heart condition), the GP who issued the death certificate told me that this sudden death happens a lot more than what most people think, and to men (and some women) of all ages and in all conditions. There is no "fair" or "unfair" to it; life and death simply happen.

  3. This brings back sad memories of my skating favorites, Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov. They were married and had a baby, and he died of heart failure at 28, while doing skating warmups with Ekaterina. He just dropped down dead. What a loss, they were perfect together. I hope Fabrice recovers.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Canadian Chickadee, I think you've misread Kay G's comment. I read it as saying that there is so much money riding on American football that the game would have continued even given the circumstances. In other words she is saying that the UK's attitude is better as the game was stopped.

    2. Indeed, if you read Kay's comment more carefully, you will understand that she meant the stopping of the game, not the tragic accident. Nothing about her comment suggests any smugness, quite the contrary - she obviously regrets that commercial interests so often override the spirit of what sports and games should be about.

  5. Carol, I think you misunderstood Kay's comment. I think she was saying that the abandonment of the game would not have happoened in the US though looking at how shocked the other players were I doubt it could have continued in any country.

  6. Sorry, Scriptor, upon reflection, I think you're right. I didn't mean to be mean spirited!!

    xoxo C.


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