Football is bewilderingly dull
Does anyone else find football dull to the same fevered extent that so many men find it enthralling? I walked out the gym today and in the hallway detected that deadly roar of a football crowd, chanting and shouting, and I looked up to see the usual hideous green colour on the screen. I looked right, and there was a bank of men drooling, a couple on the phone, reporting to their mates that couldn’t be with a TV. I looked back to the screen. Little men, lots of green, raging crowds, ugly commentator, thuggish yells. Horrid. And yet so beloved of so many, so important to so many. Why? Maybe because football provides a primitive code of existence and speaks to those looking such an outlet, of which there are lots. And lots.
Tonight, as on many nights, I am beholden to my boyfriend’s football schedule. No, he’s not holding a five-aside together in the brisk autumnal evening air. Rather, he has an engagement with his arse, his sofa and the TV because there’s a match on that relates to “his” team, which is in the early stages of a second-rate championship. It is on from 8-10pm, and takes precedence over the quality time I’d envisioned for our Sunday evening. “DVD?” quoth I on being told I was invited (expected?) round his. “Errr, no, the football,” he said. Not much, plan-wise, is final with him, but football is. It is more interesting and important than anything else in the world to him, including me to some degree (violins, anyone?). I broadly accept this, which is why I will go to his tonight and wait for 10 to arrive. And I’m far from alone, as millions of women will tell you.
But it’s the weirdness of this global obsession that animates men from LA to London to Israel that gets me. I can see the appeal of, say, racing cars or lap dancing clubs or, to be quite honest, good literature and film (but we’re not talking about this) – things with beauty, complexity, inhuman speed or a story. A football lover will say the sport has all these in spades, but I’m sorry, I don’t see it.I see green, ant-like people, crowds and crude scarves.
Seems that once you allow yourself to be a “fan” (which happens via Dad, or your laddiest mates I suppose), you’re hooked and the rest is history. You love and support your team (tribe) and hate and hope your rivals (enemies) die. But to me, “fans” is code for “thugs” and the “beautiful game” is code for a deadly dull event by any normal standards, not to mention a rave for the tune-deaf and those impervious to all harmony in the world. The chants, sung with the extreme passion of the converted, make me feel like I’m in some kind of primitive hell.
Anyway, just wondered if anyone else sees how outrageously dull this game is, and finds it odd how it manages to be a cult, spiritual and social guide in one to so many men who are- in general- fairly dispassionate about everything from love to literature. I’ve heard it said before that it’s a primitive game for primitive minds. But even boxing, of which you could say the same, is far more worth watching. Football’s like a mutation in our genetic code and I’d rather watch porridge dry. If only my boyfriend liked oats, eh?