Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Super Sunday

Wandering past the Trinity College rugby on Sunday afternoon after a swim the lady and I are nattering away to each other. There's a smattering of folks along the sideline, most of whom turn to glare at us like we've just farted do-re-mi during the Pope's funeral. I look at the pitch; some stocky, cocky gobshite with stupid hair is taking an aeon to line up a kick at goal so straighforward that my dead granny could casually backheel it over. The glarers think our chatter from 30 metres away might cause him to miss. These eejits, whose rugby knowledge begins and ends with Munster's Heineken Cup matches on the telly, have decided that all kicks at goal must be met with reverential silence. They do that at Thomond Park, every time their boy ROG steps up to the tee. The wankers. They pride themselves on it there, and on how they're such a respectful rugby crowd that they even do it when the away team are having a shot at goal. Except when it's a kick that might mean Munster could lose, like.
 Anyway, yer man blunderbusses it through the posts and the crowd singularly fail to erupt in jubilation. They don't even clap, they just put their hands back in their snug, smug pockets.

Later on, I ask if she'll join me in the pub to watch the football. Or to read a book in the pub while I watch the football. It doesn't interest her, and I've always appreciated that she admits this and doesn't feel it's her girlfriendly duty to pretend to be into it. I just want her company, as ever.
"Nah, I'll just get the shopping done."
"We can do it tomorrow. Or I'll do it on Tuesday, it's not like I don't have the time," I say, sounding far more wistful than any grown man should.
She joins me a pint and a half into a rather dull match, in which Arsenal have coasted into a 2-0 lead without even playing remotely well. She launches into the Irish Times crossword whilst I sup my pint, grunt at the match and chuckle at the wildly varying approaches to flirting within the group of cadets sitting in front of us. Just as I help her finish up by deciding that 12 down is 'secede', chaos descends onscreen and Arsenal contrive to swiftly turn a two goal lead into a draw. I thump the table, swear incessantly, mumble vague threat against both the referee and Alex Song, and become thoroughly unpleasant company for a Sunday afternoon.
"This is why I don't like watching football with you; you get so stressed."
I hate it when she talks in semi-colons. But she's right, I do.

 What I most remember about reading Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch (a book, incidentally, about supporting Arsenal, but which contains universal truths for any football fan) was an observation he made about the one and only time he was able to pick his face out of the crowd when watching match highlights later on TV. He noticed that he looked completely miserable, and realised that he tended to be tense and serious at matches. So concerned by the idea of his team losing that he never really enjoyed the games at all. Concerned by profligate finishing. Concerned by how evenifthey'vegotawaywithdefendinglikethatthistimetheywon'tgetawaywithitagainsttop-classopposition.

And that's the nature of the beast. Watching a sport that you've somehow conditioned yourself into being highly emotionally with means that you're likely to feel unhappy for large amounts of it. The subhuman roars fans emit when their team scores against some particularly hated opposition are as much about relief that the other cunts aren't winning as they are about joy at their own team's prowess.
This shit isn't reasonable, and I know it. Emanuel Adebayor's obnoxious behaviour towards his old club a few weeks ago had me far more riled than John O'Donoghue's obnoxious behaviour towards his country, upset me more than any news from Darfur and made me ask more questions about the inherent evilness of man than the Fritzl case. If media coverage is proportionally representational then an awful lot of people must feel that way. I really don't know what to make of that.

Of course, you might reasonably argue that the tension and stress of watching sports leads to a such a massive high when things eventually do go right that it's all worth it in the end. But I'm beginning to think that that's a little like suggesting that it would be a worthwhile leisure pursuit to hire someone to hide all of your most precious belongings all over the country, just so you could enjoy the rush of finally finding them all again.

19 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

I reviewed your rant with total smugness, as to how the internet should be policed to avoid having idiots like you be allowed to use a keyboard. What drivel :-)

Rosie said...

ouch. i reviewed that comment with total confusion as to how it might make grammatical sense.

smiley face.

Andrew said...

Don't worry, Rosie, there's always some silly fuckwit from Limerick who needs more time in school and less time touching himself to old pictures of John Hayes to fight the cause for Munster. Sure that's why they're the Greatest Team in The World.
Anonymous, you could maybe find a dictionary and then spend the rest of your midterm break practising the rolling maul with your buddies and not worrying too much what the likes of me thinks.

Smiley face indeed.

Radge said...

Fuckin' rugby. I won't go into it again - it just angries up the blood pressure.

Sorry for your loss (sic) at the weekend. I, for once, got to be a very smug cunt indeed.

Still am.

Andrew said...

See, I actually like rugby just fine. I just detest the posing, mythology and sociological bullshit that accompanies it. Much like football, really.
About Sunday, I wandered into the pub just in time for the Arsenal game and asked the barman what the score in the previous match had been. "Fuckin' disaster, 2-0."
"Uh, disaster for whom?"
"For United, man, fuckin' terrible it was."
I just about stifled a grin, but only so he wouldn't piss in my pint.

NaRocRoc said...

I actually quite enjoyed this post. A welcome treatise on the emotional state of the average sportsfan. Even though it brought up those repressed emotions that I spent much time burying on Sunday evening. And Alex fucking Song, insert unsmiley face (though I don't think it was a peno but hey).

And another thing.

No that's it in fact.

Ben said...

A defensive embankment had me on that crossword. I put down Rampant. The clue wasn't rabbit.

Radge said...

Good point on Song, wasn't a penalty, but the trip by Gallas on Parker was.

OK, this is getting like Football 365. Apologies.

Also, what is worse - piss pint or Budweiser? Much of a muchness?

Andrew said...

Narocroc - Alex fuckin' Song! Radge is probably right, but parker is a little poxbottle who deserves to be kicked around the field.

Ben - I was just proud of myself for getting 'albs'. I knew my knowledge of ecclesiastical garments would come in handy eventually.

Radge - You're welcome to football365 away to your heart's content here, I'm trying to flog this baby to The Man for big bucks at the moment and it's all about comments and hits.
As for Budweiser v. Piss, I reckon it's been about a decade since a pint of Bud passed my lips, but I'd imagine that the non-fizzy nature of piss would render it more pleasurable to my palate.

Conor said...

Watching an entire game of football in one go bores the pants off me. I like highlights, and I like talking/thinking/wondering about football, but I can't watch it for more than half an hour without wishing to die. Maybe it's just because I'm a Chelsea fan. (Yes, I am, what about it? I don't care what you think! Well, I hate you too) It's just such a boring spectacle most of the time. My favourite two-legged tie ever has to be when we beat Arsenal in the Champions League, with Wayne Bridge scoring late on. (Not because you're a Gunners fan, seriously, it was just such a great game). But I'll think about it smugly today in retribution for that Limerick fuckwit slur. You bastard.

smiley face.

Conor said...

That was all meant nicely by the way. Reading it again I realised my latent dislike of Arsenal had simply overcome me. Sorry.

Andrew said...

Conor, I'm confused. Was it you who left that anonymous comment?

Conor said...

God no. I like reading this blog. Us Limerick folk are just very self-conscious. Didn't realise people knew about the John Hayes picture thing.

Andrew said...

Heh, that's alright then. Wasn't really having a go at Limerick people, just that particular troll. Wasn't having a go at Munster, either, i'm originally from Cork.

NaRocRoc said...

"i'm originally from Cork"

Jaysus. If I'd known that.

Andrew said...

Twenty years on since I left the place and i'm only finishing my psychotherapy now.
They gave me this mantra to repeat in front of a mirror seven times a day:

We are not the most persecuted minority in the world
Everything shit did not originate in Dublin
Roy Keane is not a misunderstood genius
Living in Cork is not akin to living in apartheid South Africa.

She Likes It Loud said...

This is the first time I've read a sports fan that is self aware. You know I could give a shit about spectator sports really, but like your lovely sweetheart, I will find something to do whilst being in the presence of my dude (when I have one) that digs such things. I expect the same in return when I watch Project Runway.

Sarah Gostrangely said...

Hey Sportsfan! Unless the players strip on the pitch I'm with the lady on the crossword.

On an unrelated topic, I think you may have a dad you never knew about:


Andrew said...

SLIL - yeah, I realise every now and again that the levels of fanaticism I devote to sport are completely ludicrous really, and that intelligent people ought to know better. But they don't.

Sarah - And a handsome,virile-looking young buck that fellow is, too!
My father used to sport a phenomenal beard, actually, back in his heyday. He's clean-shaven these days and looks younger than me.