Sport and society

So Germany are through to the World Cup semi-finals with penalties, which has ended with a bit of a brawl. The commentator on ITV (UK channel) said:

“Germany has never been so unified…its people have never been so universally smiling [sic]”

Now then. Regular readers will know of my indifference to football (even I am pursuaded by the World Cup, however), but is such a comment really necessary or valid? What is he really trying to say? I find it careless and irresponsible. I’m sure I’ll fall victim of making social analogies in my career as a sports writer, but I hope I’m at least aware of them and will learn from them.

It’s over-the-top. That the host nation is through to the semi-final has made the people more unified is probably true…but to say they have never been so unified? Come off it. This is sport. It’s a game. They’re playing a game. Keep it in perspective.

Sport has a huge place in society, globally. Am I being cynical in disagreeing with the notion that sport can define a nation?

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