It could never be said of the English that they are poor sports, but they are poor at sport. Almost astonishingly so. For a nation of 50 million, their historical sporting achievements are dismal: one Soccer World Cup, one Rugby World Cup and a small hatful of Olympic medals are all they have gathered thus far. This article looks at why England is so poor at sport despite massive population and economic advantages over most of their opponents.
There may not be any sport more English than Test match cricket. Not only did England invent the predecessor – first class cricket – but they were also the first to start playing the highest level of the game internationally, with Tests against Australia and South Africa. They’ve been at it the longest, and they have more money behind it than anyone else.
Despite that, their Test cricket record isn’t the greatest. They just got a hiding in their most recent Test – losing by an innings – to New Zealand, a nation with less than a tenth of the population and economic resources. Not only did England lose, but they were bowled out for 58 in their first innings – an outcome that can be rightly described as a humiliation.
Nor was this a fluke – New Zealand are ranked higher than England in Tests, as are Australia, South Africa and India. This outcome is an unlikely as America inventing basketball yet being ranked lower than, say, Argentina.
England doesn’t do any good at rugby union either, despite having invented that also. Although they have been hyped for months by the media as the No. 1 challengers to Steve Hansen’s All Blacks, the English side crashed to 5th place in this year’s Six Nations, a result almost as bad as their group stage exit in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. They are regularly destroyed by teams like New Zealand and Ireland, and this year copped a hiding from Scotland, despite that these nations are but one-tenth of England’s size.
At this point, an Englishman might contend that both cricket and rugby union were relatively niche sports in England and that the major sporting preoccupation was and is, by far, soccer. Australia’s favourite sport is cricket and New Zealand’s is rugby, so those sports attract their best athletes – it’s not surprising they win. England’s best athletes play soccer.
The obvious problem here is that the English don’t do any good at soccer. Despite winning the World Cup in 1966, they haven’t come close since. Nations of similar size and economic power, such as France, Germany and Italy, put English achievements on the soccer field to shame. England hasn’t won a Soccer World Cup in half a century; Germany has won three, Italy two and even Argentina has managed a couple of wins in this time.
England’s best result, in their favourite sport, at any point in the past 50 years was a 4th place finish in 1990. So given the size and power of England, their lack of sporting success demands an explanation.
In essence there are two major reasons why English sporting prowess is so feeble: one eugenic, one spiritual.
The eugenic reason is a question of history. The British Empire was the largest that the world had ever seen, at one point covering one quarter of the world’s land area. Considering that Britain itself is just a small speck off the European coast, it meant that there were enormous new frontiers of land that needed men to work them.
These frontiers needed a certain kind of man. The land was untamed; it needed muscle to clear it and to build the new settlements and roads. Roads had to be dug from hillsides, forests had to be cut down by hand. There were frequent military threats from angry natives, and these needed to met by men with the strength and will to defend a plot of land with violence. Big, strong, tough men.
Over the course of a few centuries, the English divested themselves of their most physically impressive genes, as the carriers of them, being naturally more adventurous, tended to move to the colonies, leaving the sickly, lethargic and weak behind. This means that the modern English population bears all the hallmarks of centuries of dysgenic selection in favour of physical weakness.
The spiritual reason might also be a question of history. For whatever reason, English people no longer have the will to assert themselves. It may be guilt arising from having built a gigantic colonial empire in which many native peoples were brutally oppressed, or it could be residual trauma from many years of horrific warfare over the past century.
In either case, the English people have been so brutalised by their ruling classes over the past millenium that the populace essentially lives in a state of permanent abuse-generated submission, in contrast to the free and easy Aussies and Kiwis. Muslim rape gangs prey on English girls without fear, knowing that the locals are too cowed to do anything about it.
These historical processes have led to a spiritual vacuum, crippling the English from within. It may be that this absence of spirituality has led to English sports teams lacking the will the assert themselves on the sports field.
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