Yeah, yeah, yeah – shut the fuck up. I get that sports are a social metaphor for warfare and allow modern fans to maintain a certain tribal affiliation while not actually maiming and dismembering each other’s children. But basically, fuck all y’all for being so retarded.
Sports are professional these days and have NOTHING to do with national/regional/local identity. When you can pay a player to move to your country and “qualify” for citizenship just so your national team will compete better, you’re admitting that national identity has nothing to do with international sports. Yeah, I’m looking at you – All Blacks, Wallabies and every other pro rugby team masquerading as a national side.
Same for all football codes, same for cricket, hockey, basketball, baseball. Here’s the truth, your favourite player doesn’t come from your hometown or region or possibly even country. Fucking deal with it and move on.
One of the many (many, many) things I love about cycling at the pro level is that it’s mercifully moving beyond this antiquated chest beating. There’s still a long way to go, but the pro teams are named for their sponsors and are truly international in both team makeup (staff, riders, etc.) and in competition. They literally compete all over the world. There is no “home field” and that’s a blessing for this type of sport.
Of course there are exceptions and difficulties in this, mostly they come from the sponsor end of the deal whereby a sponsor is trying to target a particular market and want the team to relate to that somehow. Usually by having a preference for riders from that market’s part of the world. It’s even worse when governments are involved. So yeah, there are a bunch of teams that fly semi-nationalistic flags and do a shitty job of hiding the fact that they’re fucking up the sport to appease the interests of the money (to be fair, this is exactly what happens in the rest of the world, so…).
Anyway, I can tolerate a lot of bullshit and generally I don’t let this stuff get to me. I’ve been happy through the years to follow my favourite riders regardless of the teams they’re on and to even find myself supporting some teams more than others, just because I like them. I like that about this sport, it’s incredibly competitive but it’s not mono-theistic. There’s a pantheon of performers and they’re all worth watching.
Sadly for me, a new outrage is on the horizon and one that is really fucking with my enjoyment of the end of this season and the start of next year. Unholy evil, thy name is Green Edge. This is a team that is trying to enter the top pro levels of the sport, but in the process is announcing itself to all and sundry as an “Australian” team. I cry bullshit.
I don’t want stupid “Oi, Oi, Oi” chanting. I don’t want morons who think this team really is some kind of national side getting involved. But the world doesn’t bend to my will all the time, and in this instance has chosen to kick me firmly in the nuts. The cunts have signed my favourite rider and now I’m torn. I either continue to support him out of history and loyalty, but thereby also support (at least to some extent) I team that I am ideologically opposed to; or I turn my back on my favourite rider of all time out of spite towards a team that hasn’t even had a race yet.
Fuck you Green Edge.