Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I watched football

I have always referred to my partner as "my fella" on this blog. However, I've decided to start calling him "my husband". We've had a civil partnership and frankly, it's not good enough. I want full, equal-to-straights marriage - and if the law insists on being a slow-coach and won't give it, I'm just going to go ahead and call him husband anyway.

Anyhow, me and my husband are noted in our families as not showing any interest in football (or other sports). I know we are in the minority. My local news covers football extensively and will make a big deal out of the fate of various teams and "interviewing" fans (because their opinions count as news round these parts). And after some in-depth story about the transfer of some player to another team, the announcer will unironically say "And now, sports news..." I am always reminded of little Christina in the awful film biography of Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest), seething "I (pause) am (pause) not (pause) one (pause) of (pause) your (pause) FANS!"

My side of the family have the highly strung sensibilities and occupations of delicate Edwardian lords and ladies, and would never watch a football match anyway. But my husband's side are a hearty, wholesome (slightly terrifying) lot, who follow matches and show a vicious team loyalty which is simply incomprehensible to me. I don't even know what team they support because most of my brain shuts down when they start discussing the details, but I do know that they take their supporting very seriously, it is very full and noisy, and I'm sure the footballers are grateful for it.

So it came as a source of amusement to them when I admitted to have watched some of Match of the Day on Saturday night. My husband was otherwise indisposed (in the garden with a telescope, looking for Jupiter), the internet had broken and there was nothing else on tv. Then I heard a familiar tv jingle and I was transported back to Saturday Night of 1978, which was when I last watched Match of The Day. (I remember that evening was a double failure - not only did I not "get" any of the football, I disgraced myself by being unable to whistle. I guess my parents should have just bought me a copy of Stephen Sondheim's Greatest Hits then and there).

Apparently, a local team (Blackpool) were doing very well, having scored four goals, and the Blackpool fans were going insane with glee in a way that would have made Kim Il Jung wish that he was able to inspire such feverish emotion and delicious over-reaction. Every now and then the camera would do a close-up on one fan, who looked like someone had said "I'll give you a million pounds if you act as excited as you can."

As for the other team (Wigan I think?) - well their fans were so incensed and disappointed, that dozens of them were shown filing out of the grounds, their heads hung low, even before the match had ended. As much of a hater I am, even I can see how very unsports(wo)manlike that is. That's another reason why I don't understand football. I like supporting losers - there's so much more pathos and understanding of the human condition if you watch the losers. Fans these days only seem to care if their teams are winning. I don't like to be the bitch here, but maybe if they worked a little bit harder at being successful in their own lives, then they wouldn't feel the need to vicariously experience victories through a group of overpaid men who Generally Don't Have A Levels. I'm just saying.

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