Fifa Backstories #3: My Father, My King

Have you seen 300: Rise of an Empire? Do you recall, in Zack Snyder’s original attempt to make the world’s longest and most violent Nine Inch Nails video, how a father took his son to war and despaired of losing him in battle? Well, what 300: Rise of an Empire cunningly does is have a father worried about his son dying in battle, and then the father dies instead.

It’s probably the cleverest thing that happens in 300: Rise of an Empire.

Seriously, it isn’t even the best ludicrously camp pseudo-historical romp featuring Eva Green, gratuitous nudity, and an embarrassingly angry sex scene. You’d be as well watching the first two episodes of Camelot, which at least have the decency to have Sean Pertwee and James Purefoy in them.

You may recall, deep in the primordial ichor of this here website, the very first Fifa Backstory: the plight of the Tiny Italian Child, cast out by his family for bringing shame on his clan and Serie B by losing to someone playing as mid-table SPL side. This, then, is how the situation unfolds with roles reversed. This is the Rise of an Empire to the original’s No Subtitle, except this article will be good even though no-one involved gets their bum out.

This is the tale of the Stay-At-Home-FIFA-Father, and the loss of a child’s idealism.

Illustration: Marianne MacRae

Illustration: Marianne MacRae

Twice, recently, I’ve been surprised to hear Dads playing FIFA online while some children (possibly theirs), do childish things like burbling happily, asking awkward questions, and cheerily announcing that they’ve shat themselves.

Obviously, if you want a break from the involved process of maintaining adequate children, FIFA is the game for you, with all the simple joy to be gained from its stress-free kickabouts and responsive control system. And what’s more, the increased realism of the gameplay – the kind that made Pro Evo 5 such a scream – means your children will watch as if it’s the real thing.

Which is problematic, as the dialogue below demonstrates:

‘Daddy, where’s my biscuit?’
‘What?’
‘My biscuit.’
‘…come on! That was offside! Isn’t it on the plate?’
‘Noooooooo,’
‘FUCKSAKE, THAT WAS NEVER A PEN-its’ there! It’s on the plate!’
‘Daddy, you said a naughty word.’
‘The plate. There Joshua! Your hand is on the biscuit.’
‘You said a naughty word Daddy.’
‘Can’t fucking believe it. WHAT?’
‘Where’s my biscuit?’

This is when the guilt starts to trickle in, like blood from a forehead wound into an eye.

You consider taking off your best player, just to even things up. Then the thought occurs, how do you know this doesn’t happen all the time? Just because you’ve only heard it twice, doesn’t mean it isn’t a frequent occurrence when the headsets are off. But then why on earth is the headset on?

‘Daddy…’
‘QUIET JOSHUA, DADDY’S TRYING TO RELAX.’
‘Daddy, would you like half of my biscuit?’
‘…oh Joshua, that’s very kind of you, I’m sorry that I shouted just the-OH FUCKSAKE THAT WAS A LAST MAN TACKLE, RED CARD THE CUNT.’
‘Daddy, you’re scaring me.’
‘Did you see that Joshua? Hmm? Clean through on goal, takes my legs away, YELLOW CARD.’
‘Are you winning Daddy?’
‘NO.’
‘Why not?’
‘Because YOU KEEP INTERRUPTING ME AND TALKING ABOUT BISCUITS.’
‘Daddy…’

There is a noise like a grown man sobbing into his X-Box controller.

‘…when’s Mummy coming home?’

He’s probably invalidated the warranty.

‘Daddy?’
‘I DON’T KNOW.’

Yeah, you should probably take your best player off.


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