A modern parable ( admin posted on January 28th, 2010 )

Two football teams are gearing up for a match. The home team manager talks a good game – aggressive, loud, abusive to all other teams, particularly the away team. He runs his own team with a rod of iron – more stick than carrot. He is hated as much by his own side as by the opposition.

The away team didn’t really want to come – it’s a long journey, but their manager has been goaded and pushed too far – the match will go on.

The away team has many supporters, one in particular who even acts as a substitute player when required. He used to be a main team player but these days is mostly just a supporter from the sidelines.

As the teams gather on the pitch, it becomes clear to the spectators that this game is not very even – the home team only seems to have a couple of defenders, a blind goalie and no strikers. Their kit looks a bit pathetic, mismatched boots, holes in shirts. Yet the home manager keeps shouting that “we will win”, “we will fight to the end”, “the away team are cowards and useless” etc. etc.

The away team, on the other hand, has brought about 50 players, all in the latest sports kit, matching bags and water bottles. Surely they can’t have that many on the pitch at the same time!

The excitement mounts, but the referees are not yet on the pitch – they are still at the side arguing with each other, and with one or two of the spectators!

The away team starts to move onto the pitch, more and more players drifting towards the half way line, looking very aggressive, with the away manager swapping abuse with the home manager all the time. Then the away manager turns to his friend and says “ok buddy, get your tracksuit off, you’re playing”. The little friend looks scared, “but the referee isn’t ready yet” he says, “we need to wait for him to blow his whistle”. The away manager turns really angry “listen pal, we’ve come a long way and this match is going ahead. If you don’t want to play that’s fine, but don’t expect me to be your friend any more. Now get your kit off, get on that pitch and kick the ball.”

Slowly the little friend removes his tracksuit, and walks onto the pitch, hoping that the referees will stop the madness. By this time the away team has put all it’s players on now, ready for the kickoff – the spectators and referees seem paralysed, not really believing what they are seeing. The squabble on the sidelines gets louder with everyone oblivious to the impending carnage on the pitch.

The away manager blows his own whistle, his team surge forward and annihilate the home team, with the spectators watching with shock and awe. Even at the very end, as the goalie is fouled, the home team publicity officer is still shouting “The situation is excellent” and “We are winning!” It’s the one funny part of the whole sorry episode.

The rest is history, leaving the spectators to argue about what happened for years to come.

For the film version, here is a suggested cast of characters:-

The home manager — Saddam Hussein
The home publicity officer — Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf
The away manager — George W Bush
The special friend — Tony Bliar
The referees — The UN
The spectators — You and me

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Categories: education, general