World Cup Fever
Whether you love it or loathe it you can’t ignore it. World Cup Fever is all around us. I understand that this is a highlight in the football calendar for ardent football fans but it never fails to surprise me when people who never show an ounce of interest in football are completely spellbound by it. I have to confess harbouring feelings of envy that I am not one of those people.
On Sunday while my other half was glued to the box I elected to sit outdoors in the sunshine and read. For every goal that was scored I could hear rapturous applause and cheers from all directions. I admit I felt like the kid that wasn’t invited to a birthday party. I realise I could have joined my other half and shared in his joy, however I found myself behaving like a sulky teenager. I often proclaim that the ‘beautiful game’ holds no interest for me but the fact is, I just don’t get it. I don’t grasp the rules, therefore ask irritating questions. I have no knowledge of players or teams other than people like Kenny Dalglish, Brian Clough and Bobby Moore and this is only due to watching films about them. Don’t get me wrong I cried like a baby when Georgie Best superstar died but everyone knew the fifth Beatle often because of his off pitch antics. I know about his background, his alcohol dependency and elements of his personal life but I would be hard pressed to provide any details about his footballing career, other than I believe he was a good footballer.
I understand why I am resistant to watching football, it may prompt a conversation where at best I could appear foolish at worst my contribution could make me appear like a “great big girl” which I have spent a lifetime fighting against.
Due to my previous work in domestic violence and drug & alcohol services I am all too aware of the increase in violent incidents during the World Cup. I really struggle with this. Abuse and violence are not caused by football or excessive alcohol use. I acknowledge that alcohol is a disinhibitor but if everyone who drank too much during the world cup became violent it would be carnage. If people’s moods are impacted by a football match to the degree that it triggers assaults, these assaults are happening already.
My other half is in recovery from an alcohol dependency and had huge associations with football and drinking, which is not unusual. The world cup is a really risky time for those who are reducing their drinking to a manageable level or quitting. There are safe, alcohol free environments out there, it doesn’t have to mean missing out.
I love the camaraderie and unity associated with supporting a team. When the team is your country this adds something pretty special. Supporters of opposing teams band together. There is a sense of patriotism and pride which I would argue surpassed the recent royal wedding.
The world cup brings hope, there may be reservations given past performances but… what if? We root for the underdog and nothing warms our cockles more than triumph over difficulty or a comeback. After yesterday’s loss to Belgium, I have it on good authority that it is part of a ‘world cup domination’ strategic masterplan.
Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?
I need to sort myself out. I either ignore it and do so graciously or embrace it and not ask where David Beckham is… again.