In a world that only seems to celebrate the gold-plated, flush away consumption of Kim and Kanye, Wayne Rooney’s shopping potential and the gold-plated Lamborghini collection of a playboy oil billionaire, trying to Live the Dream of smarter, lighter life might seem a rather hopeless task.
Why find meaning within your means when everyone and everything seems to be screaming ‘Go Large!’ regardless of whether they or you can afford it or not.
But hope springs eternal. And the odd shining example of how to make the most of what you have to both individual and collective benefit without bankrupting yourself in the process does pop up in the strangest of places.
The world of football for example.
If what’s going on at the moment is anything to go by, football is in danger of becoming a metaphor for the societal benefit of turning away from vulgar money fixations and look-at-me consumption to something a little more meaningful and precious. Something we seemed to have lost along the way.
In a world riddled with corruption, larger-than-life living, vulgar displays of wealth and riches and a blatant almost criminal disregard for the everyday people that the sport should belong to – we have Leicester. The Foxes.
If anyone is currently Living The Dream it’s Leicester.
Andreotti has proven himself to be the shrewdest of the Mr Foxes, thriftily shaping one of the most balanced teams in the sport, and for roughly the same amount of money as Wayne Rooney earns in a couple of months.
The Reaction. Remarkable. Suddenly the football collective voice is being heard. Sam Diss of Shortlist Magazine recently reported hearing a Crystal Palace fan tell a Leicester fan to ‘Win it for us’ when their teams met.
Us. There it is. Shining like a beacon. Deafening in its quiet criticism of a beautiful game turned ugly by greed and profligacy. The collective voice of the everyday football fans who believe that football is bigger than any one footballer. Bigger than any club ‘brand’. And who hark back to a time when watching your favourite game enriched your life not bankrupted it.
Once football was the perfect pleasure – a joy to play or watch at any level – and wholly in the means of the fans who made the clubs what they are today. But far from enriching them, football now seems only to enrage and impoverish them – and not just financially. The game is becoming increasingly spiritually bankrupt. Morals and ethics seem to disappear out the Transfer Window. Money talks. And everyone else has to shut up and listen – and swallow it regardless of how patently twisted it is.
“Boof. Eat my Goal” said Alan Partridge.
But now “Who Ate All the Goals?” might seem a more appropriate chant from the terraces towards the ‘fat cat’ players, managers and owners that seem to openly mock the average working football fan with their displays of wealth.
There is little to separate the vulgar disparity between the salaries of CEOs and those of their employees and that which exists between footballers and the communities they are supposed to represent and entertain.
So whether Leicester ‘win it’ it or not is less about a football game and more about hope. A hope that the money doesn’t always win. And it doesn’t always make things better. And that a collective spirit can change things. And do the impossible.
My hope lies in this collective spirit wishing and willing Leicester on in the belief that some things are more beautiful and more important than ugly money.
Just imagine – if football can turn away from its current vulgar grasping and increasingly ill-affordable guise, perhaps other aspects of our everyday lifestyle and how we consume it might change too.
Living the Dream might start to mean enjoying life in a construct that isn’t loaded onto 5 credit cards and backed up with a payday loan; and riddled with disappointment even at that.
In the close of the same article Diss cites Iain Mackintosh, die-hard UK football writer, as saying that Leicester City pulling this off will change everything – and not just the Premier League. “This could change the dynamic of humanity itself”.