News is sport. Sport* is news. Wayne Rooney tweaks a tendon, but it's all right after all, and 'a nation can stop praying' according to Sir Alex Ferguson. I wasn't praying. Were you? Maybe Sir Alex meant the nation of Scotland, praying that Rooney had buggered his foot up in time to see England get their traditional dunking in the World Cup 'perennial underachievers' paddling pool of poo. But anyway, this story involves two of the three verbs that make sports journalism the awful bowl of sick that it is:
Sir Alex Ferguson Admits England Fans Can 'Stop Praying' After Confirming Manchester United's Wayne Rooney Is Only Out For Two To Three Weeks With Ankle Injury
Yes, the first verb in question is 'admits'. Why is he 'admitting' it? Did the reporter tie him to a chair and beat his balls with a bamboo brush until he tearfully confessed the results of the scan?
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Wayne Rooney's ankle ligament injury will keep the striker sidelined for no longer than three weeks.
He's 'revealed' it? Revealed how? Did he stand up at the Blankety Blank board with a bit of cardboard covering up the state of Rooney's knee? Did he pull it out of his sleeve? Did he open a pair of curtains, and there it was? Pah to your sport verbs. The other one that you'll see all the time on the back pages of your paper of choice is 'insist'. Usually it's in this context: "Dave Manager insists that getting three points would be considerably better than not winning the game, he reveals and then admits."
Something like that. The point being, we all know that Dave Manager wants to win his football match. It's not really news, but this is sport - the only time something happens is when something happens and a match takes place, so you have to fill in all that space between things happening with Dave Manager insisting, revealing, admitting and confessing exclusively that he'd rather like to win the next game if it's at all possible, and that losing it would be a bad thing, and of course drawing it would be better than losing, but not as good as winning.
In the run-up to the election, you're going to see more and more of the transformation from news into sport. The thing that's happening is still weeks away, but there's going to have to be several pages of election coverage every single day, whether you like it or not. It's like the build-up to a football match, when there's bugger all to say about it, and the only exciting thing will be when the ball actually gets kicked around and ends up in a net and so on - you know the kind of thing - but you have to have endless analysis and guesswork and possible team selections and players talking about how they'd quite like to win, managers talking about how they'd quite like to win rather than lose, and pundits telling you who might win and who might lose.
Here we go. You're going to be sick of this by Tuesday afternoon, let alone by May 6, if that indeed is when we're going to be voting. But you're going to get a hell of a lot more like this, news becoming sport:
EXCLUSIVE: I want to win election, says leader of political party. Wow, the other papers must be kicking themselves that they didn't get that one, mustn't they? Surely it's not really exclusive that we find this out from Cameron, and not that interesting either. What would have been newsworthy would have been if he'd said: "Do you know what? I think I might not be good enough. People don't warm to me; they probably think my skin is grey and putty-like, maybe even clammy." But this is news = sport. This is what we're going to get more and more of, until we're sicker of it than chocolate eggs by the end of this weekend. And it's not the first front page of that type that the Telegraph has had in the awfully long and tedious run-up to this forthcoming election, or Morton's Fork as Justin describes it:
Same same, no? Cameron: I'm quite good! Cameron: I want to win! Cameron: I think I'm better than the other fella. Cameron: I like chips. Cameron: I'm quite good. Cameron: I think I might be all right at this lark. Cameron: Yes, vote for me please. It's the same as the "Dave Manager admits he wants to win match" headdeskingly repetitive and tedious gubbins that you get in the back pages. Nothing is happening. Therefore: I want to win, says man. You don't say? Who knew? Who knew that David Cameron wanted to win the election? I was kind of thinking he was hoping someone else might come along and win it instead of him.
Steel yourselves, friends. Choppy waters ahead. And it's not going to get any better.
* Sorry** about the SPORTS vid earlier by the way but it cheers me up.
** I'm not sorry at all. Not in the fucking slightest! But you knew that already, didn't you?