Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Are you there God? It’s me, Kaka

Look I’ve got to be honest here, folks. I’ve got football fever. I’ve got World Cup mania. Seriously, I’m laid up with a bad case of soccer conjunctivitis here. Whatever way you spin it, the fact is I’m writing this week’s column with my laptop perched on my knees, the television blaring and I’m not even going to pretend otherwi… THAT WAS A MILE OFFSIDE, REF. ARE YOU BLIND!? One thing this tournament has been lacking, I’ll admit, have been any decent goal celebrations. Yes, players have punched the air and flung themselves to the floor and all of that stuff. But so far there has been nothing to really fired the imagination like Peter Crouch’s robot dance in 2006 or Roger Milla’s getting jiggy with the corner flag in 1990.

My favour celebration employed by a player at this year’s tournament – although, at the time of writing, he has not yet had an opportunity to use it – is that preferred by the Brazilian superstar Kaka. When he scores a goal, the Real Madrid star kisses his index finger and raises it to heaven in acknowledgment of his debt to God.

Given it’s lack of acrobatics, this may seem an odd choice. But to my mind, great goal celebrations are really about hubris: think Cantona’s folded arms and regal self-satisfaction, Maradona’s preening or Zidane’s shrug of practiced indifference. There are 32 teams and 736 players in the competition – what could be more hubristic than Kaka’s assumption that God favours him over anyone else?

The Brazilian playmaker famously takes a moment before each game to talk to God. I have a rough idea of how these conversations must go.

Kaka: Lord, as I step out onto the field today, watch over me and favour me with your blessing.

God: Ah jeez Kaka, it’s sweet of you to stay in touch. But I’ve given you outrageous talent, film star looks, a beautiful wife and family and the most skillful teammates in the world. You can’t handle North Korea on your own? They’re like the worst team in the tournament!

Kaka: (threateningly) Listen buster, I’ve given millions to your church and I plug you in practically every interview… You owe me!

God: (resigned) There are fifty orphans trapped down a mine shaft in the Ukraine. And I’ve been really getting into Wimbledon this year. But fine, fine… I’ll watch over you. And favour you with my blessing. Again.

Professional athletes require huge effort and ruthless self-discipline from a young age in order to compete at the highest level. It seems absurd then (to this non-believer) that so many of them insist on crediting their successes to God. It would make more sense at least if, by the same token, they also blamed God for their failures.

In the first round of the World Cup, a shocking blunder by English goalkeeper Robert Green cost his side victory over the United States. No doubt the unfortunate error warmed the cockles of many’s an Irish heart. But imagine how much funnier the incident would have been if, immediately afterward, Green has shaken his fist in the air and cursed the name of the Lord. For bonus points, he could have whipped out a crucifix, broken it up into tiny pieces and stamped on it angrily.

Now that I would have appreciated!

July 1st, 2010.

8 Responses to “Are you there God? It’s me, Kaka”

  1. Colin Says:

    A two day gap between games, it hasn’t even been that good and yet I miss it, roll on the Netherlands/Brazil match!

    What are the odds of another major screw-up by the officals before it’s all over? If God wasn’t so busy with Kaka maybe he could sort out the fuck-ups.

    Don’t mean that Our Lord, I’ve seen you smite France and FIFA, holy be thy name.

  2. Conal Says:

    I think there’s a bit in Corinthians about showboating.

  3. Matt Says:

    Its paying off for him. They should be three nil up here.

  4. Dolly Says:

    So much for God Kaka. You’re going home, you’re going home..Apologies for gloating but I had a nice little wager on Holland. Btw I’d love to see a team come out and say they worshipped the devil and see how far they get. Would be interesting no?

  5. huss Says:

    Enough with the football. Please.

  6. Eoin Says:

    @ Huss – Never!!

  7. huss Says:

    You know the world cups over pretty soon though right?

  8. Eoin Says:

    No it isn’t. The World Cup will never end. It’ll go on and on and on and on. You’ll see.

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