Sunday, 21 November 2010

Well, would you believe it?

I can remember a time when I would avidly follow my local football team, but it's been a while now, nigh on thirty years since I followed them with a passion. Over the years, with the changes in the game, and especially with the importing of foreign players, the concept of 'local team' has lost all meaning for me; aided and abetted by the newer generation 'supporters' who invest their allegiance in the most "successful" clubs at the expense of their local teams.

When I was a lad, supporting your local team was passed on through the generations, and you were "with" your club through thick and thin. And although I fell short of kicking the cat when they lost, I suffered a mild, but fortunately, transient depression; which for me is the mark of a supporter - suffering. In this respect, It's not dissimilar to marriage - for better, for worse; through sickness and health... etc.

Nowadays, although I'm aware of a residual attachment to their fortunes (I always check to see how they're doing) I have better things to do than go watch them, despite their potential for heaping upon me much emotional pain (they're not doing so well of late) and all of the kudos that gives in terms of being a 'true follower'.

It didn't take long to 'shake off' my allegiance. All it required was some modest thinking about the 'reality' of 'supportership'. It didn't stand scrutiny. I realised, In essence, it has all the hallmarks of religious belief, especially in its satisfying the will to belong. But once I gained sight of a more enduring 'self' underneath all of the the inherited cultural clap-trap, including this quasi-religion, I dropped it. Now I realise I'm the final arbiter when it comes to bringing meaning into my life. That what is used to bring that meaning about is not important. It can be done via religion, football, trainspotting, masturbation, strangling animals, or countless other activities.

I have to believe I'm in control of what's important to me. It's scary, but infinitely less so than surrendering to the dubious creed of thinking ultimate meaning resides in something greater than myself.


Anonymous said...

I've always said that football is a religion. I couldn't know anything less about football. I know that they try and kick the ball into the goal and sometimes they throw the ball, that's it. I was forced to follow a game once, the World Cup 1998, England played...I've forgotten who. I was working in England at the time and I was sent to a training course. That evening I was having a meal in a pub and the plan was to get out before the game started. But that didn't happen, I'm a slow eater. I got stuck. The pub was suddenly full and I couldn't move. So, I thought 'ok, I'll watch football'.

These people were all doing their things; getting beer, talking, laughing and whatnot, and suddenly they all stopped, sat down, opened their eyes a bit wider and stopped blinking. They seemed to have turned from individuals into a group consciousness. They were all staring at the screen and then all at once, at the same time, like a school of fish, they went ooh, or aaah, or pulled their hands in the air or over their mouths. It was fascinating. I was bored out of my wits and fascinated at the same time. Very strange. Well, England lost or drew, the group consciousness cried, I went back up to my room and was annoyed because it would have been a nice quiet time for a long walk. This was an example of how I was not in control of what is meaningful. Although fascinating in a way, ultimately I had two words in mind: Bo ring.

On another note, I too have wondered how the English football is so non-English nowadays. And how expensive it is to be a true believer.

Ronald said...

Sari, now that's what I call a comment. I loved the phrase, "... the group consciousness cried". Thanks for such a great addition to the little I said :-)

Anonymous said...

Here I was wrapping it up for the evening and you've got another post up. What!?!
No way can I top Sari's comment or your wonderful commentary, Don, so I shall not try.
I live in Tennessee, USA, southern roots... football (different from yours) IS religion. Not mine, mind you.

Michelle said...

You make a clever point. I quite agree. *tries to think of something worth adding and doesn't*

Maundering mutterer said...

I think I'd have been disappointed if you said that you'd found ultimate meaning in footie! It might be there for some, but I think you can do much, much better than that.

Ronald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ronald said...

PAMO Apologies for flooding you with posts :-) Truth is, this was scheduled to be posted later in the week, but due to user error, it posted immediately. I couldn't be arsed to delete it. Thanks for dropping by :-)

Michelle You could have argued and said, "don't be so fucking daft Don, it's just a game!" :-) Just to be awkward :-)

MM Oh you're absolutely right, I've progressed a decent way over the years, and whilst I can't claim to have found Nirvanah, I do know what matters to me. I might blog about it one day :-)