Despite living with a football fanatic and coming from a family of them, I can’t stand football. The fascination with it just goes over my head completely. I can’t even pretend to be interested in it. If it gets switched on in our house, I just switch off. Occasionally someone will start talking to my partner about some upcoming match and before I know what I’m doing I ask who is playing. Then I realise what I said and follow it up with ‘Wait, why am I asking? I don’t care.’ I just fail to see the excitement in watching x amount of people kick a ball from one end of the pitch to another. I understand supporting a team but I don’t understand why this translates as having to spend a sum of money rivalling the cost of a diamond mine on said team’s merchandise. I can understand buying a shirt but I don’t understand why these shirts come in so many sizes. I wasn’t aware of a newborn baby having the ability to support a football team, so I don’t understand why shirts are made in newborn sizes. Nor do I understand the need for underwear, jigsaws, shot glasses, sunglasses, flip flops, jeans, etc. with the teams name emblazoned across the front.
Although, it’s not just football that I don’t understand, I can’t grasp the purpose of golf. As the man said it’s a good walk ruined. My mother is a dedicated golfer and in true golfer fashion has tried on many occasions to convince the rest of us that golf is the best game in the world. She has failed on many occasions. According to her the only thing more riveting than walking around an eighteen hole golf course hitting little white balls with clubs is watching someone else walk around an eighteen hole golf course hitting little white balls with clubs. Then there’s the golf language. If I’m unfortunate enough to be with my mother when she meets one of her like minded golfing friends I only understand every second word. The rest is things like eagles, birdies, par, nine-iron, on the green, the fairway, bunker and the perfect swing. Then when they talk to someone who doesn’t play golf nor has any desire to play golf, there’ the insistence that if they tried golf then before they knew it they’d be hooked, and their life would become a veritable whirlwind of men’s captains day, ladies captain’s day, tee offs and visits to the golf shop to find the perfect pair of golf shoes.
Another sport I don’t hold any truck with is tennis. I don’t play it, I don’t watch and I generally tune out when someone starts talking about it. It was a big thing in our family a few years back because most of the cousins played it and were always zipping off to places for matches, or going shopping for a new racquet because they’d busted the old one with a power serve or something. We went on a holiday with some of the tennis enthusiasts one year. They played tennis nearly every day for the entire two weeks. I went to the nature centre, the swimming pool, the beach, shopping and the amusement centre. They attempted (in vain) to convince me to go with them and play tennis. I tried to get out of it by pointing out that I didn’t have a racquet. They produced on from thin air. I didn’t have trainers. Again a pair miraculously appeared in front of me. I hadn’t brought any sports type clothing with me, only jeans and swimming suits. A pair of shorts was produced from behind the couch. Eventually I just shouted that I didn’t want to play tennis and no amount of cajoling and coercing could convince me otherwise. The best I could do was agree to accompany them to the tennis club where they’d play tennis like the best of them and I’d sit by one of the tables under the parasol with a cold drink and a good book. They agreed that it was a fair compromise. And off we went. I got my orange juice, picked a table and had just opened my book when a blonde in a tennis skirt tried her own brainwashing attempt. Tennis is good. Tennis is fun. You will play and you will enjoy it. It’s not and I didn’t.
Then there’s hockey. Hockey was the divine sport of the school I went to. If you didn’t play hockey you were a second rate citizens to some of the teachers, and if you didn’t even like hockey then you were next to nobody. Not all of the teachers were like that but some of them were. To me, hockey was almost like golf just at a faster speed. I didn’t understand why there was such a fuss made about the results and the players. They were excused from class and the rest of us mere mortals were instructed to take notes or them or ferry homework assignments to them. There was one teacher who wouldn’t tell us to give them copies of our notes. She left them to do it themselves, which they generally wouldn’t and then she’d rip into them like a lion eating its lunch. It was impressive to watch. She never led them into it, she always told them that she wouldn’t help them find notes and that they had to make up the work they’d missed themselves. For some reason, the players thought that they were untouchable and would get away with not doing homework or having notes.
There are some sports that I do like. GAA is one. I played for a while when I was in primary school and loved it. Unfortunately, I don’t play anymore. But I do still like the sport. However, where my real passion lies is in equestrianism. I can watch any type of equine based sport, and have been known to stay up for hours watching and re-watching show-jumping competitions, even rewinding them to see a single jumps multiple times. I can also watch decades of cross-country, dressage and any other equestrian sport which happens to be televised. There is nothing missing from equestrianism. It has excitement, riders with nerves of steel, horses with more muscle than a weight lifter, jumps comparable to Everest, cross-country courses long enough to constitute marathon length, it has ability, focus and determination, it has stamina, it has tension, it has thrills and it has spills. For me, anything with a horse in it is good viewing and even more fun to practice. Now, I just need to convince the rest of the family and maybe they’d stop trying to get me watching football.
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