“Football’s just eleven men running around a field chasing a white sphere, what‘s interesting about that?”, she said reading an article about Posh Spice’s breasts.
“It’s not eleven men, it’s twenty two men as there‘s two teams. Then of course there’s the referee, who doesn’t specifically chase the ball but has to remain in its approximate vicinity.” I replied boring even myself.
“It’s not as if there’s any real point to it.”, she continued flicking the page over to an article on coloured contact lenses. “I mean at least with tennis you use a racquet.” I ignored this comment, partly because I was sure I saw the point in football, and partly because I didn’t understand the relevance of the racquet.
And a couple of days later I settled down in the pub to watch the not so mighty Southampton take on a team, though not as mighty as a mighty team, considerably higher up the ladder of mightiness than Southampton; who‘s position on the mighty ladder is at the bottom holding it while every other team climbs up. The whistle blew, and the game started.
Southampton attacked, and I quickly got caught up in the excitement. Matt Oakley (Southampton midfielder) held onto the ball for what I felt was too long. “Pass it!”, I screamed at the television assuming it was fitted with a microphone that would relay my message to the relevant party. Oakley was easily tackled and my suspicions that no direct method of communication existed between me in a pub in Bristol and players on a pitch in Southampton was given more credence.
I sat back down, jiggling my feet, ready to shout again. Then I moved the pint glass to my lips, drank a little, and flicked my eyes back up to the screen and I saw it for the first time. Football really is just twenty-two men chasing a white sphere around a field. I glanced around the room; a hundred people sitting in smoke, inhibiting their higher brain functions with fermented chemical shite.
I put down my beer. I saw the Emperor’s New Clothes fade away leaving an ugly fat spotty truth. There’s a billion billion planets in the universe and the only one I can see is just a small spot of light in the night sky.
Then Southampton got the ball. Dyer had it on the edge of the area, he paused. “Shoot” I shouted, “Hit it!”. He was soon tackled and I held my head in my hands, picked up my pint and thought about what could have been.