Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Beautiful(?!) Game

It's arrived. World Cup fever is officially upon us - bringing joy to millions of men and, no doubt, misery to equally as many women.

After sitting through endless Premier League matches during the football season you'd think long-suffering wives and girlfriends of football supporters would be entitled to at least a summer off. But the minute the Premier League winners have finished nursing their champagne hangovers we're immediately treated to a new form of torture: the football tournament. An entire month of  blanket coverage through every possible medium, with TV schedules practically obliterated to accommodate for the beautiful game. 

The only alternative for bored viewers seems to be Channel 4, where they are faced with the Big Brother freak show around the clock.  Either that or a Friends re-run. Clearly not a great time to be a football hater.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm all for a bit of patriotism. In fact, the World Cup is pretty much the only time us English dare wave the St George's flag for fear of offending others. So I'm more than happy to tune in and cheer England on and, dare I admit, often find myself getting quite into the game when I do. The reason? I love the drama. Judging by the fans' reactions you'd think a life-or-death scenario was unfolding before our very eyes rather than a group of overpaid men kicking a ball around. 

What utterly baffles me is people's insistence upon watching every match. Understandably the Brazil games may be of interest, along with a few of the other major players. But Serbia vs Ghana? South Korea vs Greece? And, worst of all, Japan vs Cameroon? Sorry, but I just can't see the attraction. To be honest, the idea of being forced to sit through every game (and listen to those flaming Vuvu horns blaring) for the next month fills me with dread.

It just might be worth it if we were in with a chance of winning. As each World Cup comes around, desperate fans keep up their hopes with completely unrealistic dreams of England suddenly becoming champions. Seeing as we've won squat since 1966 I'd say it's pretty unlikely. Fans face hot, sweaty and tense conditions in crowded pubs and for what? To witness another inevitable defeat and have their dreams shattered.

So let's look at this objectively: it's just a game. Enjoy it while it lasts...and then get over it. 

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