Aren’t the Euros fun? No, not that pile of coins that’s soon going to be swapped back for the currencies they originally came from, I’m talking about arguably the best football tournament in existence. Where the World Cup has some better teams in it (O! The joys of Brazil and Argentina) it also tends to have some really weak teams to fill in the space, so the Euros can be far tighter, and more enjoyable for that reason.
But something that’s more frustrating than fun is the way that it highlights how horrifically wealthy it’s possible to get based on the equivalent of rolling a dice or tossing a coin. If you’re a boy born in the right area to the right parents and pull off the right football move at the right time in front of the right people you might end up playing Premier League football; if any one of those is missing, there’s no chance.
Let’s take Cristiano Ronaldo as an example. There’s no denying the fact that he is a phenomenally gifted footballer. He’s fast and delightfully skilful, which is a joy to watch until you remember that this guy is paid more in a week than most people earn in a decade. And he doesn’t even come across as a nice (or even grown-up) person, which makes the whole thing worse!
But in our capitalist society this is fine, isn’t it? I remember seeing an interview with David James several years ago in which he said that he didn’t think football players were overpaid because that was simply the way that the money in sport was apportioned; a receptionist at Manchester United should get paid a similar amount to receptionists elsewhere, and football players’ salaries are simply reflective of the money they bring into the club through tournament victories, ticket sales and advertising. It might not be ‘fair’ in terms of the financial amount, but it’s fair in terms of the concept. Thank you, Capitalism.
This isn’t just me going on about communism again, I want to highlight that for Christians this should be an encouragement. In eternity our wages will not be the wages of sin (death) but the wages reflective of who we are in Christ: perfect in every way. Actually, it’s not ‘fair’ that we should receive the reward designed for the Son of God but that’s the whole point, it’s called grace!
So I’m going to continue enjoying the spectacle of men acting like boys and being paid millions to do it because it reminds me of the grace I am to receive.
And, also, it is very entertaining.