“Football teams are extraordinarily inventive in the ways they find to cause their supporters sorrow.” — Fever Pitch (Nick Hornby).
This post is perhaps a month late but the truth is, this is not about the World Cup but what it has done to us as a society, a nation and individuals. I love football, my love for football borders on unhealthy and possibly institutionalisation. The 2010 World Cup intensified this emotion, I saw every game and soaked up every moment of that month, my world existed solely for football.
It’s almost a month since the World Cup came to a phenomenal close, the world has moved on, people have nursed their broken hearts and the octopus has been put under 24-hour protection due to some rather overzealous German fans. Life has returned to some normalcy and we are proud as Africans for having hosted the world so well. However, I still find myself lazily channel surfing and automatically stopping on SuperSport, I am comforted when I see the re-runs of the games and I still get that same thrill when the brilliance of Diego Forlan translates into a goal (I know Africa doesn’t like Uruguay so much but Forlan has skill that must be noted). I am utterly and hopelessly consumed by the world of football and it seems the world holds no real interest for me without it any more. I find that it’s easy to bring up the World Cup in conversations that don’t warrant it, I find I am able to talk about a particular game at length without drawing breath. Yes, football has nothing to do with the information bill nor is it particularly necessary to explain the concept of marketing communication to a third-year class though they found the analogy thrilling and it simplified the concepts for them. However, why should I give up the World Cup when we are still flying our flags?
I read Hornby’s Fever Pitch about five years ago, I loved it and as an arsenal fan I was quite enthralled and understood him perfectly. I never thought beyond my wildest dreams that I could let myself ever get lost in the world of football without the Gunners but the World Cup proved me wrong. I can’t carry on like this, that’s obvious I must get back to some sort of normalcy especially with the Barclays Premier League on the horizon.
So I have devised a few ways to get over the World Cup problem and fill in the void that has been left behind by the stars of the world’s greatest game:
First, limit football discussions to four times a day, anything more than that is just plain unhealthy and requires some sort of medication to control. Second, stay away from channel surfing, in fact stay away from television in general when you have control of the remote because you will find yourself on a SuperSport channel and you will find that old comfortable thrill that ends up wasting hours that should be dedicated to working. Third, if a point needs to be illustrated using sports terms, pick another sport that you understand, there are several out there and it is important to explore them. But if it is a life-threatening situation that simply cannot be resolved without football then you have a free pass. And finally, do not, under any circumstances, visit the Fifa website in an attempt to review long-gone comments about games because that is just asking for trouble.
I am not quite sure why I love football; all my teams ever do is cause me intense emotional distress and make me miserable. But there’s a thrill in that misery and when they make me happy it’s like a disease, one that has to be spread to all. This foolishness must stop and I need to move on from the World Cup and focus all my energy on the Gunners. Though the flags fly, my life must get back to some sense of normalcy.