Monday, December 31, 2007

All For Want Of A Bigger Cultural Metaphor

Jock's important point about football pitches reminds me of one of my own regular metaphorical frustrations.

Every so often (read: when it's raining) it is necessary for me to make my way through Cardiff's St. David's Centre, currently something of a building site as the imaginatively names St. David's 2 takes shape next door. As ever with such projects, the ugly bits of the construction process are covered with hoardings proclaiming the amazingness of the new facilities, amongst which is the proud claim that the new centre will cover an area of however many football pitches.

Which is fine, Jock's point notwithstanding, except that Cardiff happens to be the capital of a country called Wales (it's possible the owners may have heard of it) where the national sport and cultural icon happens to be Rugby Union. As a man of Gloucester, one of those bits of England where football doesn't really exist, can I please have a culturally appropriate metaphor?

And in case you were thinking the difference is irrelevant, note that while an average football pitch is of variable size with a median around 1.75 acres, a rugby union pitch is specifically 144x70 metres, or 2.67 acres, giving a pretty accurate conversion of 3 football pitches = 2 rugby pitches.

Of course, if that wasn't enough, one might argue that the real standard should be the nanoWales, but even I'll recognise that might constitute pushing it...


Jock Coats said...

Being more of a rugby man myself I would suggest that you reclaim the word anyway, and have "football" pitches, and "soccer" pitches!

But it does just show how big a difference there could be in soccer with players having to cover poteentially nearly twice as much ground on the biggest pitches as the smallest. I presume there is some standardization in the higher echelons of the game?

Auberius said...

Well I'm also an American Football fan so my confusion would be even greater!

The way soccer specifies the size is rather odd; Rugby at least says "the pitch shall be the maximum size unless it can't be", which seems slightly more sensible than completely making it up as you go along.

Certainly most professional leagues have a size specification, as do the continental competitions; Hearts used to have trouble with Tynecastle because the UEFA length spec was longer than the Scottish League one.