HAVING spent many an hour (or 32 seconds, I forget which) trying to teach my boys the spirit of being a good sport, I felt I had to wade in to the Tim Krul debate.
The rules of sportsmanship for my two children are quite simple: Play hard; play fair; and, if you must resort to punching or kicking, steer clear of the face (the blood is so hard to get out of the sofa). Family board games in our house are particularly stressful.
We played Junior Cluedo at the weekend. It’s like normal Cluedo, but without the violence (well, at least on the board).
No one is murdered with a candlestick in the library in Junior Cluedo, instead, they are accused of eating a piece of cake.
It kind of takes the edge off the game. And to be honest, I’m not sure who the game makers are protecting with this sanitised version of classic board game.
Certainly not the sensitivities of our two boys Bradley, 14, and Isaac, 11 who spend much of their spare time following the gentle pursuit of mowing down rampant Nazi zombies with automatic weapons on the Playstation.
When it emerged that in Junior Cluedo you weren’t expected to solve a gruesome murder, but to find out who had nibbled a slice of chocolate cake, their interest waned
In fact, it was the promise of murder that we used to lure them into playing a family board game.
They were mildly intrigued at the prospect of trying to find out who bludgeoned a victim to death with a lead pipe in the kitchen.
When it emerged that in Junior Cluedo you weren’t expected to solve a gruesome murder, but to find out who had nibbled a slice of chocolate cake, their interest waned.
Not even the added intrigue of working out what drink was consumed with the cake could sway it. Hardly surprising really.
After 20 minutes, patience was stretched, tempers were fraying and there had been much hooting and hollering … and that was just when explaining the rules.
Proceedings are not helped by having two competitive brothers who have scant regard for the rules. The eldest continually jumps extra spaces while the youngest believes the dice is a legitimate tool for knocking over his opponent’s pieces. It’s not so much a dice, as a cuboid bowling ball.
Ten minutes into the game and they were kicking each other under the table.
Junior Cluedo, I’m convinced, would have ended in murder, but luckily there were no candlesticks, revolvers or lead pipes within reach (like any responsible modern family we keep them hidden safely under our pillows).
Which is why I pointed out Tim Krul to our boys as being a good sport for congratulating Jermain Defoe for his brilliant goal in the Sunderland versus Newcastle United derby game at the weekend.
Only for Sky pundit Jamie Carragher to rain on my parade with an astonishing attack on the Newcastle keeper.
He suggested that Krul’s smile and words of praise for Defoe had been a mistake and that he should have worked himself into a ‘frenzy’ and should ‘despise’ the opposition. And there’s me thinking it was just a game of football.
Had Krul joined the celebratory melee of Sunderland players on top of Defoe after he scored that wonder goal, then maybe Carragher would have a point. But to berate him for apparently congratulating the striker at half-time is not really in the spirit of the game.
In fact, Krul has even denied doing so. Krul, according to Sky Sports, insists that the images had been misinterpreted.
Perhaps, as is my thought on the matter, Krul, rather than congratulating Defoe, had waited for him at half time and, with a menacing smile, told him: “If you do that again, I’ll take a lead pipe to your head next time you’re in the library.” Such is the sorry state of modern football, no doubt that’s what Carragher would call good sportsmanship.