The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

The best revenge is to live well

23 March 2017

Football will be played on Saturday. It will be preceded by a minute's silence: ample opportunity to reflect on where the game belongs in our lives. After that, there should be no excuse for anyone – least of all the players and fans of Accrington Stanley and Grimsby Town, respectively 14th and 13th in the fourth flight – not to do it right.

There are things we take for granted, and there are things that make us howl when they are done against us but which we pass off as being "professional" when we do them. None of them enrich our lives. None of them are what we travel around the country to see. Delaying restarts when the opposition are having a good spell. Haranguing the referee. Claiming a throw-in or corner even though you touched the ball last. Pretending to have been fouled, or pretending to be injured when you are not.

Yesterday, people really were injured, and worse; some so that others could enjoy this Saturday and future Saturdays. Wouldn't the best tribute we could pay be to play a game as though it is a game? To strain every effort to gain a fair advantage, to provide a fair and proper contest. Sport is an outlet for emotions we can hardly let play in the working week. But now and again it should also be an expression of our best selves.

Enough.

Yesterday, Town's stiffer-than-mosts travelled to Hartlepool. A late goal by Ahkeem Rose would have won the game but for an even later goal by Louis Rooney. Middle-Aged Diary doesn't know what the prize is for winning the Central League North East but, with Grimsby joint top with a game in hand, the open-top bus is no doubt being fuelled up ready.