On my relationship with Norway…
In the summer of 2006 I embarked on my first solo backpacking adventure. I actually planned my entire itinerary around visiting Norway, known as being one of the most expensive countries in the world to travel. As long as I can remember I’ve always been fascinated by viking lore, troll folktales and their stunning Fjord landscapes. During my adventures through Bergen and Oslo I would have the opportunity to tap into Scandinavian cuisine, explore some of the worlds most beautiful views and acquaint myself with their unique Norwegian style of humour. I developed a huge crush on the blond haired and blue eyed boys.
On my relationship with Football…
I am hopelessly uncoordinated and have never developed a soft spot for sports. It’s the running joke in my family and friend circle that sport is the bane of my existence. I was the little gay boy in high school gym class who feared for his life so avoided competition entirely. I’d have balls of all shapes and sizes whipped at me. I felt like I was perpetually playing dodge ball throughout the majority of my childhood.
My parents did a great job at exposing me to every available avenue of athleticism. When I was a wee one I played soccer and remember scoring on the wrong net and upsetting my coach and fellow team members tremendously. When they realized soccer wasn’t for me they signed me up for swimming, diving, trampoline, gymnastics…the list goes on. As I grew up I often found myself “forced’ to go golfing with my uncles and male cousins. Whenever I found myself loitering in a sand trap I’d scurry away and hop through the woods procuring long lost golf balls which I would sell back to my dad for a small fortune. I’ve always been an entrepreneur you see.
Of course playing the game is one thing and watching is very much another matter. While I loath both experiences for the most part I can say that watching a game has its perks, notably the food and beverage offerings. My coverage of the Raptors VS Bulls Game is a perfect example of how one can find enjoyment when sitting court side. One can also tie in the homoeroticism of the experience. Watching basketball players pat their team mates on the bum, baseball pitchers fondling their groin and don’t even get me started on the arousing moments one experiences while watching The World Cup. A smorgasbord of the worlds most stunning male idols. So while sport is most certainly not the focus of my own passions I have been able to adapt to any and all situations through the carnal pleasures of lust and gluttony.
But perhaps I’m not being fare to fans of the footy. I try to be as objective as possible and the sport does deserve it’s rightful attention. I’ve had the great pleasure of watching some incredibly awe inspiring football matches which had my heart racing. In 2007 while living in Palermo, Buenos Aires I went to the Americas Cup Final Match, Argentina vs Colombia. I will never forget the “passion” of the crowd: screaming fans swearing heinous slurs on top of barbed wire fences and lighting their clothing on fire while police shot tear gas into the stands to curb the rowdy.
I was in Berlin during the 2006 World Cup in Germany and had the great pleasure of exploring the wild behaviour of soccer fans outside of rambunctious stadiums and throughout the cities pubs and winding streets. I’ll never forget seeing a stream of Aregentinan fans weeping (literally bursting into tears in public) when Germany beat them in one of the finals. Such passion and patriotism.
But in the end, the most emotionally charged football game I have ever experienced was in Seoul for a South African World Cup Qualifying Match between South Korea and North Korea. Seeing that both countries were still at war the game got an insane amount of media attention. North Korea refused to play on South Korean soil and asked to have the game moved to a more neutral China. Officials made it clear that if North Korea refused to play in Seoul they’d be disqualified. Seoul World Cup Stadium was absolutely packed with what seemed like hundreds of thousands of South Koreans who proudly waved their flags. The boom of the crowd was tremendous as the South Korean team arrived on the field and the national anthem played. A massive map of a unified Korea then dropped from the stands when North Korean ran onto the field which had everyone in the stadium in tears. The Korean War was and is still so fresh here. Many South Korean families still have relatives in North Korea and that night patriotism and passion played out on the field. Football as an art form clearly has the ability to draw communities together and enrich our lives, allowing us to connect with a larger story and shared experience.
World Stage recently premiered A Dance Tribute to the Art of Football which deconstructs the sport as an interpretive dance form. The show features stunning Norwegian dancers on the top of their game offering up unique nordic humour with a wee dabble in the homoerotic nude. Jo Stomgren Kompani’s show creates an engaging avenue for hard core sports fans to appreciate the dance floor while creating a safe space for those of us who shy away from the competition to explore.