Monday, June 12, 2006

World Cup 2006, View From The Bench(Sitter). (By a Football Conscientious Objector).

I was going to write some huge ranting soapbox of a diatribe. Pillaring state and international stupidity. Until it hit me, I don’t actually care. Football, that is. If football were really a religion I would be an agnostic. Agnostic as apposed to atheist, because I know football does exist, I just don’t care. Not even on the level of “if football were Christianity” (crucifixion is too good for them), I would not even class myself as a Buddhist (i.e. preferring rugby, or cricket). No I just don’t care.
Back in the bad old days, yes I do vaguely remember my time at
school, I used to hate football. Everyone wanted to play it. Everyone loved it. Not me.

Please picture those endless humiliations, two skinny kids sitting on the bench, standing in the line, the last to be chosen. Never more retched a site seen than the dispossessed, the unwanted dregs, of the Footie team line up squad choosing ritual purgatory.
It starts with the two “I am’s!” the better, louder, more aggressive individuals (self acclaimed “alpha males”), picked by the teacher to be team captains. The first level is the squabble over the “good” players. The “if you have Bob then I want Tim”, thing goes on for a few minutes. Teacher usually has to mediate this level. Then the reasonable players are apportioned off in quick succession, then the mediocre then the bad and finally the line consist of three or four refugees from a mixture of
The Bash Street Kids, and Belson. Usually myself (left handed taught to be right handed, I believe, though another subject for another day), and my mate Alex (Brain tumour/blood clot removed from his head during his early teens. Thus a little slow of the motor neurone responses). I liked Alex, a lot of the others used to pick on him, but I found him amusing. Once you got past the slower, slightly slurred way he talked you realised he was possible completely off his head. Not stupid, he ran the staff ragged with his “Oh I feel tired now perhaps it’s my medication” scam, and his infinite understanding of the fact the staff were paranoid his condition may re-occur. Absolutely convinced he was going to take over the world. I didn’t go to school in “Tom Browns School Days” conditions, but they seem to be somewhat harder and slightly more violent than they appear now. Alex used to get picked on. Alex actually promised me ministry of Art when he took over the world, mainly because another friend of ours wanted the position and it amused him (and me) to give the title to someone else. I think that’s why I liked Alex, he was twisted.
Well it would get down to the last few untouchables, and we would be apportioned in the ritual “If we have to have him then you must have the other one” brush off that went so much further to bruise ones ego.
Don’t get me wrong, it was not just the teenage emotional equivalent of lining up for the showers in
Buchenwald that put me off of football. That was just the preliminary.
As a child I was reasonably fit, I walked a lot, and practiced yoga. It was not until my early to mid thirties that my job changed from something physical (Bar cellar man) to something more sedentary, and I also didn’t allow for that change in metabolism that occurs in men about that age. So I wasn’t in bad condition, and had much less body fat than I do now, I just had particularly bad hand eye co-ordination when it came to ball sports (this is a masterful understatement, some people are meant to hit things, others are meant to write about them doing the hitting. I have always been one of the latter).
It is when we hit the pitch that the main abomination occured. The “I am’s” run onto the pitch as though it were their day at Wembley, the rest as reasonable kids going for a game of football, and we, “The Untouchables”, bring up the rear like reluctant outcasts, from the extras, from the football match in
Football has long been a mainstay of British physical education curriculum (at least for Boys) from the point of attempting to engender teamwork, communication skills, and group activity, as well as physical well-being. Never has it been considered from the point of view of the lasting and hideous mental damage it’s implementation causes to those who are less than “good” at it. Reference again the football match in Kes, as to the bullying and mental degradation just inflicted by the teacher, let alone anyone else.
The beautiful game now splinters into two styles of play. The disassociated, running around of the untouchable. Hoping to the high heavens that their occasional shuffling of position, ensures they neither suffer the horror of actually touching the ball, and that the member of staff in charge is to involved in refereeing the game to rarely notice that there are a number of zombies on the pitch trying their hardest to look like the other “normal” children, and hoping desperately that they are not spotted ball dodging. I think we actually kept score amongst the ball dodgers and if you touched the ball in a game you did almost become unclean amongst the lower cast for a week. Many thanks to a particularly sadistic PE teacher who actually, on noticing my particularly well thought out and choreographed version of ball dodging, stopped the match and insisted I have the ball. Please don’t even try and measure the level of ridicule, and disdain, I received.
The other style of football being played by the “Footie Alpha Males”. This was something , even now, but mostly at the time, I could never understand. It is, I truly believe, the whole point behind why we (the English) have done so badly in international football competitions as a nation for the last forty years.
The style I am referring to is the loud shouting aggressive individuals who, in complete negation of the rest of the team, seek the glory for themselves. There are in most professional teams those few tat once they have the ball, rather than actually looking to see how well they can use it to the advantage of the rest of their team, immediately become the focus of the effort and insist on trying to take the thing forward and score the goal themselves. The prima Dona syndrome. How many post match analysis conversations have I had to endure in the PE changing rooms where the “Better” players boast about their exploits and how the team would not have done as well without them. I see it in the professional matches I occasionally watch bits of when down the pub. Give the ball to one person and they have to try and take it forward to goal to get the glory of the goal.
Much like a military campaign. You may have tanks, and planes, and snipers, all with very different skills and weaknesses, but what is the point of putting a sniper forward when they have no artillery and infantry to back them up? The sniper may achieve some strategic targets but the sniper with the rest of the team is much more effective when used cohesively.
Finally Flags, and patriotism. I have no problem at all with an individual displaying their countries flag with pride. I do object to the “Fair Weather” patriotism that is displayed whenever some British tennis player, or football team or any other excuse brings out the jingoistic brow beating flag waving stupidity. A Dutch (Nederlander) friend of mine had Guinness tipped over her head during a previous world cup just because she came from Holland, and was in the wrong pub at the wrong time.
We quake at the pictures of hoards of fundamentalist Muslims chanting and beating themselves in the Middle East. Yet revel in the orgy of ecstasy performed when our world cup team score a goal.
Recently a work college asked me where my patriotism was? I replied that I live in the country and pay my taxes, that’s good enough for me.
I can’t put on the radio, watch television, or eat my breakfast without having the World Cup shoved down my throat.
I suppose the length and complexity of this piece suggests I do give a damn on the subject.
Please do take some time out from your orgiastic revelries to keep an eye on legislation passed in the next few weeks. Paranoid or not the fact that ninety nine percent of the general public are focused on the football, I would be trying to pass some less publicly popular laws whilst everyone has their back turned.
Rant End.

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Blogger Pisces Iscariot said...

There's only one thing worse than football - rugby.
And as for flag waving fuckwits... don't get me started.
And about that legislation... I'm beginning to think we get what we deserve.
And by the way, I hope Tim Henman gets beaten at the snooker.

13 June, 2006 06:28  
Blogger mullet said...

Ok ....absolutely no offence intended...but for a split minute lookin at your pic, I thought it was that guy off Fortean times!

15 June, 2006 22:08  
Blogger Lillie said...

My Gods, Simon! I had no idea you'd ever viewed my blog, and there I am in your favorites! I had to stare at it a moment before it hit me you meant me.
Thank you! I'm touched!
I've been thinking of deleting it. Now I guess I'll think twice.

You make it obvious that the diagnosis of dyslexic has nothing to do with possibilities. It humbles me.

16 June, 2006 11:16  
Blogger meekon5 said...

Armed with a PC, a spell checker, and a vocabulary bigger than most peoples, I have always written and performed. Even at school one of my junior school teacher use to let a few friends and myself put on “plays” on a Friday afternoon for our classes amusement. Maybe it’s the fact that no-one has actually told me there are limits, and that there should be barriers to a disability. But then read Joyce’s work the way he actually wrote it. I can probably read it better than most because I write phonetically (bugs the hell out of my spell checker sometimes, and can be quiet frustrating to me as well).
I list interesting blogs, different points of view, anything I find that continues to remain intelligent, people that amuse me (plus some technical stuff I can’t get away from).

16 June, 2006 12:14  
Blogger meekon5 said...

And I tend to have a look at the blog sites of anyone who feels thet need to comment. This usually means they must have seen some connection to want to read and contirbute. Not everyone gets on my list though. :-)

16 June, 2006 12:35  
Blogger mullet said...

I really hate football. it's not the game itself...but what it represents to a dangerous minority. I also hate P.E teachers - because they are P.E rude!

16 June, 2006 22:57  
Blogger mullet said...

ok - that was the BF that made the comment about Fortean times......

He is English, living in Scotland.....It's the world he bothered? hell no......does he get a shit load of hassle because he is English in Scotland.....? Of course he does! E'hem .....I thought it was a game of 2 halves....apparently not!

16 June, 2006 23:20  
Blogger mullet said...

flag waving fuckwits?......oh dear.....they don't all quite live in an 'avenue'...what to do about it....what to do? Lets ban the socio-economically challenged( the new stupid term for it)...working class......yeah - lets outwit them with our clever turn of phrase!

16 June, 2006 23:36  
Blogger meekon5 said...

Actually the Fortean Times comment wasn't unusual, I get that all the time. Actually people, complete strangers, confuse me for other people. It seems I am a clone. In the near future I am going to try and construct a list of famous people that "look like" me. Just for the fun of it.
As for the "flag waving fuckwits" I personally am not against it (it keeps certain people occupied) but am more concerned as to what else is happening whilst our concentration is diverted. We have the highest level of closed circuit surveillance cameras in Europe at the moment, what are they watching in so much detail?

19 June, 2006 09:39  
Blogger mullet said...

We are the cctv stars

19 June, 2006 14:00  
Blogger meekon5 said...

I really am on the "Trueman Show"!

19 June, 2006 14:09  
Blogger mullet said...

'Good morning....& in case i don't see you...good afternoon, good evening & good night!

19 June, 2006 15:14  

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