The Football Family and I
Spending twenty-five years pretending to understand the offside rule
I'll admit it. I'm not the biggest fan of football. I've never exactly followed a specific team and if anybody asks me who I support I usually tell them the first one that springs to mind. Luckily, for me, that's seemed to work on every occasion and never gone much further than a "great season you've had" icebreaker. Apart from that, I tend to hide in the crowd and pretend I know what I'm talking about. In reality, however, I'm the most out of depth person in the room. And funnily enough – I'm perfectly fine with that.
I suppose now you're wondering what the heck I'm even doing on a football (sorry, soccer) community when I have little advice or knowledge to share with the group. Well, you've caught me. And, if it wasn't for this Vocal challenge I set for myself this month, I'd likely never of even stepped foot here to begin with. Alas, I'm here, and I'll give you my fifty cents worth of useless backstory. Take from it what you will, my friends. If, for whatever reason you expect this to be a charming write-up devoted to the sport, you might want to skip to the next article. If, however, you're curious to hear the hate behind the sport from a stranger in the UK, then boot up – because I'm your guy.
This is a little piece I like to call, The Football Family and I.
Growing up with a football fanatic family, I sort of had little choice but to mould with the pack. Only, I never really caught on. If anything, I barely understood what the fuss was about every time they cheered over what, in my eyes, was just a ball crossing a line. But, to my family, it was memories in the making. And, for every goal the home team scored, a legacy would be born with our family manning the helm.
I was the type of kid who'd be picked last for the team. But that wasn't the captains fault, really. I couldn't exactly blame them when my reaction to playing to begin with was usually a scoff and a spit. To be fair, that didn't overly levitate the team morale before playing. If anything, it gave the team I played on a reason to give up before kick-off. But I sort of felt pride in that, strangely enough. It sort of meant I didn't have to perform to my heart's content. Instead, I could just scuff my feet and slate the other players before the whistle called full-time.
I can't say what it is that I dislike about football. All I know is that it's too hyped up for my liking and the aura around it is slightly pretentious. Like, for example, the money the players earn on a weekly basis and the stuck-up suits evolving around the game. That's something that has always bothered me. Because, to be fair, they are paid too much. Way too friggin' much. But that never stops fans of the sport, and also my family, from binging the league like it's the last programme on earth.
Fans are another story. I like the fans. They've got charisma and a whole heap of loyalty towards the game. That's something I can never fault. If anything, I admire them. But it's just not me, nor will it ever be. Because, unlike my family, I cannot bare to sit down for ninety minutes to watch football when I could be cracking on with something else.
Time after time I've arrived at work in the morning to swarms of colleagues bundled together to discuss "last nights game" and the players pros and cons. But, to me, I can't help but question their amount of spare time as they quite literally list the highlights from three straight matches. Suppose they don't have kids to look after. Or a partner. Or themselves. Or anything. Football is life. I don't know.
I've given football a chance many times in my twenty-five years of existence. Sadly, not once have I ever felt the connection to it. Even when I physically planted myself in a stadium stand to watch a game with my uncle – I still couldn't get my head around the hype. If anything, I just wanted the bolt-on Pukka pie and hot chocolate that went hand in hand with the experience. That was back when I was eight. If it were today, I'd probably be the same. But with a pint.
To put it short, I suck at football. That's all there is to it. Perhaps that's the reason I loathe the sport. Or maybe it's something else entirely. And if you happen to be a diehard fan of the game then I can only apologise for spending the last few minutes slating the thing. That's something I, and plenty of other people, seem to have in common. But you do you. I'll still be here next week with the exact same view on it, I'm afraid.
My family will continue to scream for each game and I'll carry on pretending to notice the differences between onside and offside. But deep down, I think they might already know I'm a fraud. They've probably known for twenty years or more, to be fair. If not, however, then I'll happily plod along and be that guy in the crowd for the foreseeable future. And if you happen to see me in the pub, just remember, whatever team it is you support – I support them too. Just leave it at that. Please.
#DayFour #VocalChallenge2020 #Cleats