LOSING THE GAME(21/06/2008)
Aquest article no està traduït al català; es mostra la seva versió en anglès
On the reasons for the author's complete lack of interest in football and all other sports.
CATALONIA TODAY – SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE
Last Thursday there was an end-of-term soccer match at my children's primary school. The older players (aged six) really got into the spirit of the thing, dribbling, crying foul and scoring goals with an almost professional sternness. However, most of the younger players (aged five), although they ran about a bit and dutifully tried to tap the spheroid when it rolled their way, clearly didn't see the point of the exercise, presumably because key concepts such as 'my team' or 'winning' were not (yet) in their vocabulary.
My heart went out to them as certain long buried memories of mine suddenly rose from their tombs. All through my schooldays, I was unable to understand either the why or the wherefore of competitive sports. The very idea of joining up with a group to symbolically 'beat' other people by kicking (or throwing) a ball struck me - and strikes me still – as uninteresting at best, and, at worst, plain misguided. I have just never got it, any more than I have got, say, moth collecting or cribbage. So it is that I have lived a life free of the thrills – visibly real for the majority, including most of my friends – of football (or any other sport). This foregoing has never given me any grief, except on those occasional occasions when Catalan acquaintances – having discovered that I don't follow football despite being English – manifest as much astonishment as if I'd just sprouted a third ear. To clarify matters, I usually explain that football in England is a bit like drinking there: you either consume near-fatal quantities or you abstain altogether; and I chose to abstain from the former, if not from the latter; then again, I add pointedly, when it comes to a choice between drinking and football, there's simply no competition.