Celebrating Ronaldo’s birthday with…a university course?

His 20s were kind to Cristiano Ronaldo – global fame, immense fortune, lots of trophies and a body that went from gawky to so ripped, even the former governor of California was impressed.

Most importantly, of course, he learned to love himself. A lot.

Today is Ronaldo’s 30th birthday, when he’s no doubt feeling the pitiless tentacles of middle age starting to slither around him, preparing to slow his speed, bloat his tummy, winnow his hair and delude him into thinking that an evening spent at home with a bottle of mid-priced supermarket Pinot Grigio watching HGTV’s Love It Or List It marathon is more fun than going out. I mean, it’s just so expensive and crowded, parking’s a hassle, the music they play these days is dreadful and far too loud. You can’t hold a conversation, you really can’t.

At this difficult time, the University of British Columbia is offering Ronaldo’s self-esteem a birthday present: it’s teaching a course on the “social phenomenon” of Ronaldo.

“Why should UBC Okanagan organize a for-credit, fourth-year sociology course on a footballer?” the university press office asks itself, not unreasonably.

We’d have gone for a response along the lines of “because it seems like a really easy way to earn course credits”, but that’s just the arts student in us who never get up before 11am talking.

In fact, it may not be viable to turn up late. hung over and stinking of weed to this course, having forgotten your notepad, and still expect to pass. “Students will learn about the sociological relevance of social phenomena like organized sport and the forces that create a global athlete. Students will also learn about identity, nationality, and representation, and will discuss the phenomenon of Ronaldo across the Portuguese diaspora.”

An official academic study on “the phenomenon of Ronaldo” – surely enough to bring him birthday cheer as he faces up to the end of his youth. That, and whichever cake his friends get him. But given recent precedent, best not to think about that.

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