IT’S that magical time again, when the pubs pack full of football fans and English people forget how many syllables are in the word “England”. Yes, the World Cup is here again. As I said last week, I am an honorary Argentinean for the next month, due to my picking that side in our legally dubious office sweepstake. I sincerely hope that they win, because that will net me £33. However, I have a confession to make. Beyond my selfish desire to win cash money, I have no interest in the World Cup at all. Indeed, I have no interest in football at all.
I am an otherwise normal man with many other manly interests, such as videogames, kebabs, and beautiful ladies, though not necessarily in that order. Yet I don’t understand what my manly brethren find so interesting about football. The way I see it, every game is essentially the same. A lot of running and kicking, the occasional swear, ball goes in one goal or the other. The end.
Think about it. If you had a choice between watching football or the movie ‘Die Hard’ which would you choose? I would choose ‘Die Hard’. Does this make me less of a man?
I can’t understand how something as trivial as a game where 22 guys kick a ball around a field for 90 and a bit minutes can reduce a grown man sitting in his own living room to tears. It’s not you’re kicking the ball, if your team lose you haven’t personally been defeated, so who cares? Likewise, if they win, what exactly did you contribute to the victory? Why should the result of a game played by 22 other people have an effect on your own feelings of self worth? It’s only a game, and after all, surely there are more important things in the world to get worked up about.
There. I’ve said it. I don’t like football. Now why is it that every time I say that to another bloke they look at me with like I’m some kind of tragic lunatic suffered to live by a hateful God, then slowly turn away and start talking to someone else...
I must say, having no interest in the sport has been a huge disadvantage for as long as I can remember. In any situation in which you find yourself meeting guys you’ve never met before, the talk inevitably turns to football. It’s as if it’s one of the “safe” topics that men in such uncomfortable situations can fall back on, and if you kill the conversation before it starts, we don’t know where to go. It’s a huge social faux pas and it makes everybody really uneasy.
It got to the stage that I was actually genuinely ashamed of not liking football, like it was some kind of deficiency that I myself possessed, as opposed to football’s fault for being basically boring. I attempted to muster a cursory interest when people talked to me, and even attempted to learn some facts. This didn’t help though, as I became convinced people would be able to see through my ploy and condemn me as the faker I was.
Nowadays, of course, I don’t really care. I have a big bushy beard with which to assert my manly credentials, and I will quite freely admit to not liking football. If you can’t hold a conversation with another man about anything except football then that’s your problem, not mine.