WARNING: I am probably offending the majority of society.
Confession time: I’m a black sheep among my friends because I don’t understand the appeal of watching a sweaty man (or a woman) kicking a ball into a goal. Many people have tried to give me the football bug, but I can’t catch it. I’ve tried to be excited by the aspect of a goal, and I’ve tried to understand the rules of FIFA many times before, but I don’t even find David Beckham attractive. So how does the majority of British society become so intrigued by the aspect of a ball, two goals and a field?
I do think football is a passion handed down from generation to generation. Neither of my parents supported a team and naturally I was never a dedicated football fan. (Once I visited Watford Stadium though- they’ve got great interior). I don’t know the chants, I don’t know the rules, I just don’t know football. To others the sport is almost like their first language, their mother tongue. Words like ‘Red card’ and ‘goal’ come naturally to them. It seems to be the fact that football is communal, bringing people together who perhaps have nothing in common apart from the love of their team. Perhaps it’s the only place where two strangers would embrace if their team won a trophy. Football also adds a nationalistic dimension to one’s identity. For example, when England played in the World cup, houses, people and shops were covered in flags adding a nationalistic vibe to the country. However getting me to admit England is the best place on earth would be like getting blood out of a stone. So maybe my indifference to football has weakened my English pride. In some ways I wish I could join in with the football banter. However, it would take more than 90 minutes for me to love the sport and therefore I am an outsider of the stadium, banished by my lack of patriotism.
As you may have guessed, football is not at the centre of my family life, and I have cracked the code that if one is not brought up with BBC sport in the house, one will never understand why the channel exists. My parents tried to make my younger brother a football fan, by forcing his four-year-old chubby body into a Chelsea kit probably because he looked good in blue. It didn’t take long to realise that fashion would not create any magnetic bond between my brother and the team. I’m certain that my brother would rather eat grass off a football pitch than watch a game. Maybe it’s because he has the attention spam of a goldfish. Maybe it’s because he is a true thespian who would only go to a football match if he was method acting. Having said this, I’m sure there are many thespians and those with a short memory span who have an addiction to the sport, but these people probably have family who have supported a specific team since the Romans invaded. Clearly football is more than a shirt, but it is a culture, engrained in family and tradition.
In my eyes, no game is complete without a box, dice and an instruction booklet, and football does not tick the list above.