Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Soccer in Qatar

I guess there's some recent stir lately about how the people who decide such things have decided that the 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar.  Apparently it's the first strict Muslim nation to host the event, and there's concern all around about that little fact.

Two guys on whom I was eavesdropping at lunch today brought up an interesting point.  If the country is governed by strict Muslim rules (bear with me here, because I admittedly know nothing of Qatar and very little about Muslim rules and traditions and have thus far been too lazy to look it up, though I thoroughly appreciate the freedom to be able to look it up), how will that affect the game?  Specifically, how will it affect the scheduling of the game?  Will they have to periodically break for prayer?  If the games are scheduled around this but one runs into overtime (do they have overtime in soccer?), or something happens to conflict with prayer scheduling, will the game be interrupted during the religious services?

Again, I know very little about the traditions in question.  But it's my limited understanding that there are official prayer times throughout the day and whatnot.  So, if the laws of the country hosting the event in some way require observance of these traditions, or even if it's simply demanded by local cultural norms, will they actually interrupt the games and/or impose these observances upon the stadium crowd?

Here's my take on the potentially-non-existent-for-all-I-know situation.  I hope they do.  Not because I'm religious or because I think it's important or anything like that.  Granted, I am.  And I do, but not for the same reason.  I think it's important because I think the world needs to face something like that.  (Understand also that I care very little for soccer, so little in fact that thus far in this post I have made it a point to refer to it by its American name.)  The world, which considers this sporting event to be pretty important and a big deal all around, needs to be confronted with something like that.

I want them to force their prayer schedule upon every aspect of the World Cup.  Don't be dicks about it or anything, just be firm in standing up for whatever it is you and your people believe.  If you want your culture to be taken seriously, and everybody does, then don't you dare back down or dissolve your convictions.  It's your country, it's your culture, and if people don't like it then they can choose not to attend what may annually be considered the most popular event on the planet.  I'm not a big fan of imposing one's culture on other people, but I'm a huge supporter of standing up for your own values in your own home whether I as an outsider agree with them or not.

And I want the world to face something like this.  The way I see it, there are two desirable (by me, anyway) outcomes.  Both are equally good in my opinion, because both are equally decisive...
  1. The rest of the world takes offense to this action and stands against Qatar and Muslims in general regarding the scheduling and hosting of the event.
  2. The rest of the world openly and in no uncertain terms reveals itself to be spineless and just goes along with it.
I like both of these outcomes because they each represent a conclusion of some sort.  They each represent a decisive action (even if that action is, in fact, inaction).

See, I don't particularly care about the cultural or religious struggles between various societies.  I find it all to be terribly silly.  But what does bother me is the air of political correctness and people the world over just pussy-footing around and not actually standing up for anything.  Trying to find the least-offensive-to-all solution is the same as not finding a solution.  Don't just bury your heads in the sand.

I think of this much in the same way that I did the last US Presidential election.  I didn't like Obama and I didn't like McCain.  I didn't care who won.  What I did like was that the voters made a clear distinction as to who their choice was.  I didn't care who won, I just wanted a clear and decisive victory.  The previous elections, being split at a nearly even 50/50 decision, were nothing more than flipping a coin a hundred million times.  It wasn't a decision, it was a giant national shrug.

So that's what I want here... decisiveness.  Either stand up for what you believe in or shut up and stop complaining.  Both sides, all sides, I don't care about sides.  One of you needs to reveal the other to be lacking in conviction.  Again, I don't care who wins.  I just want the people who lack the actual desire for winning to stop getting in the way.

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