The Trinidad Guardian / Sports fans can be so fickle, and even more nimble. Last weekend, with all the unpredictable World Cup results, we learned it was possible for some people to have one foot in the Brazilian camp, another in Mexico and yet another firmly implanted among the team representing Iceland.

Wear a red shirt with blue shorts and you can simultaneously back two teams playing against each other.

In the event of a draw, you can bring discreet attention to your green underwear.

Now, the folks over at UWI International Relations would have long counselled about the dangers of what in IR jargon is known as “bandwagoning”-as with Caribbean states sycophantically suckling from the teats of north and west.

How it works is that small countries join forces with bigger, stronger ones that may not have their best interests at heart but are useful as a piggyback for shared gain or glory, in the event victory comes. Such arrangements, however, do not usually work in favour of the piggybacker, over the long term.

Those of us who went to a boys’ school like QRC would also know that riding shotgun with a bully has its advantages but oftentimes near fatal drawbacks.

“Bandwagoning” in the context of World Cup football is, however, somewhat different. It derives its true meaning from the phenomenon that rears its head whenever the team you backed at the start appears to be headed for an early ride home and you decide to return to the country you really loved the most-though most of us never heard you mention anything about any of this before.

Wise sporting support is also a skill learnt from teenage boyhood and the world of attractive girls. I remember an old friend learning the hard way, circa 1975, that when a group of girls walks into a party, a scatter-shot approach is very likely to lead to a night alone with too many beers in the system.

Uncle Headsie had advised against this. “Shortlist no more than two. Then take aim at one and make your move. Transition to Plan B quickly if things go wrong and remember, you cannot have all … Larry.”

But nooo. The rest is now sad history.

Of course, as Orin reminded everybody on Facebook the other day, women are also paying keen attention to World Cup action. From some(!) of them, for example, we realised that Iran was the team to back. Forget the geo-politics.

Forget nuclear disarmament. Forget sharia law. Forget foot against ball. Masoud Soleimani Shojaei looks good in dark glasses and a navy blue suit.

Speaking of tabanca (ahem, supporters of Brazil), some of us end up backing some pretty horrible countries. True, Vladimir Putin is a rather scary character, but Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia? Really?

Who supports Saudi Arabia¬†supportwith anything? True, women there can now get drivers’ licenses, but you won’t see them at the public swimming pool and people still get their heads and body parts chopped off in public.

Correspondingly. Who, really, was behind the killing of Anna Politkovskaya?

Which, Franka, leaves us with England. Yes, England. Through Brexit and Windrush and Grenfell Tower. That England.

And, oh, there’s also Argentina and Portugal and the war of the GOATs. “Of all time” covers a pretty long period, people. Not one single “curry” joke from me on this silliness. And, don’t talk about those regurgitating outdated propaganda about German “efficiency.” What an efficient cut-tail from Mexico!

Then there was the meme of the “Divali” cop wishing the West Indies all the best for the Football World Cup. Hey, there’s a thought!

Indeed, for a small band of sports followers, “the score” over the weekend came from Gros Islet in Saint Lucia.

Led by the fortuitously named “Short Pants”, such bandwagoning had neither foreign policy bully nor fancy clothing. Just an ageing, sparsely-filled jitney sputtering to a stop along a busy highway.

My bet? I’m with football all the way … in bright plaid.


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