“Well, last night’s events really put the JPT draw into perspective.”
That was the tweet I wrote on Saturday morning, I wasn’t sure if anyone would get it and so did what I always try to do when I find I’m doubting myself; I erred on the side of caution and deleted it.
Would people get the wrong end of the stick? Would they get that I’m poking fun at people talking about major events which ‘put football into perspective’ as if football is the benchmark around which everything else should be measured. A bit like Bono saying that it showed the terrorists don’t like music, because the issue pivots around attitudes towards stadium rock rather than civil war in Syria.
As abnormal as Friday night was in France, Saturday in Oxford was as normal as it was possible to be. I went to the Cambridge game as planned, it rained like it frequently does, there was a reassuringly familiar chill in the air, it was dark when I left the ground. We scored a wonderful goal, threatened to score a couple more, played well and survived some hairy moments at the death. I could go home content with the three points and the prospect of a curry in the evening. I love that kind of Saturday, it was very normal and successful in its own moderate way.
While the atrocity in Paris is a tragedy on a personal level for hundreds of people, it is still just a blip. A blip in a long quest for reasonableness and rationality. This is a war that is being won and has been won for decades. It was such a shock because it was so unusual. In the first World War nearly 60 times the number who died on Friday died every single day for four years. From that version of ‘normal’ to this, that’s how far we’ve come in a 100 years. Remember, this is the best they’ve got, it achieved virtually nothing and, the very next day, most people got up and carried on with their lives.
The Paris attacks were considered an attack on liberté, égalité, fraternité; the livelihoods of normal people, but it was ultimately nothing more than a graze on those principles. What option do we have? We signed up to them too long ago to turn back now, and more importantly, why would we want to? The plan is simple, apply the principles, demonstrate that ultimately everyone wants them, no matter which religious or philosophical lense they are viewed through, get people bought into the idea and help them realise that they are achieving nothing. Perhaps the club could have a game themed around bringing greater diversity and inclusivity to the stands at the Kassam? Who wouldn’t want the multicultural melting pot of Oxford reflected in its football club?
The best response anyone can give to something like Friday’s events is to continue as we’d always planned to, go to football together, watch it together, enjoy it together and then come home knowing that another victory, in every sense, has been secured.