Monday, 26 March 2012

On Football

I've noticed I've been using the word facilitate a lot lately. It's a nice word, which shares the French word "facile" or easy. It is literally to make something easier. That wasn't related to this post at all, just thought I'd share my word of the... day... week... time-period.
My dad is your usual football guy - for some reason, the gene missed both me and Micah. I just never understood the sport. I don't have an issue with it, it's perfectly reasonable if you accept it as - like any other game - something that has no meaning outside itself, that is is purely for the entertainment value it brings. It just never brought me entertainment. Football is a challenge game - humans work with their hands, that's why they evolved so well to manipulate objects, work tools, cool shit like that. So to flip that around and make it a rule that you can't use your hands, only your feet, to manipulate a ball, requires you to train yourself in a certain way, to learn techniques, and develop what's become a huge skill unto itself. Then it's a matter of learning how to control the ball, and kick it into an allotted area, known as goal. The literal goal: it's everything you aim for in the game. There's no meaning behind it, that's just what you do, because it's a challenge, and it's fun.

I respect that, I do. I just don't fucking like the sport.

I never made an effort to get into it because I was never the sporty guy, so I never picked up the skills that most boys hone from a very young age. And one thing that puts me off it even today is the ugly manner in which the whole ritual of football is done. People get absolutely invested in football: they pick a certain group of players and arbitrarily decide to root for that team to win the games. They adopt - for some reason that I've yet to work out - personal pronouns when talking about their team. When they mean "Portsmouth beat Southampton 2-1" they say "We beat you 2-1," and suddenly, they turn themselves into the players.

The fans are the team, the goal scorers, the goal defenders, they get so invested in it that they leap from being just supporters to actual players on the pitch. That doesn't bother me so much as the way people treat each other about it. Maybe it's a poor and limited sample from the people around me, but I've seen a lot of trash talk over the game - friendly or not, it makes me uncomfortable, to hear people put others down because of the football team they root for.

Possibly my least rational reason for disliking the sport is... just how much masculinity it brings out. You can take that however you like because I don't know myself: maybe it's a reflection of the feminine side of me that dislikes overt masculinity. Maybe I dislike big shows of masculinity for even more primal reasons: because I see men asserting themselves as the dominant members of the tribe, I feel intimidated, but instead I translate that feeling into uncomfortableness, or irritation, or something like that. I don't know, I'm speculating here. But seriously, I hate how it draws out the testosterone, makes even the fans use it as an excuse for a "Whose-dick-is-bigger", all the inane slurs and slanders.

I meant to talk about my experiences with football in P.E., but I've gone on for so long with this post that I'll save that for a followup.

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