I had a little bit of a paddy on Twitter yesterday after a slew of people were moaning about “the football”. “The football” in this instance being a fairly easily avoidable pre-World Cup friendly (the pubs would not have been packed, it was isolated on ITV). I just didn’t see how it was worthy of the disapprobation poured on it.
You wouldn’t dismiss all of ‘art’ or ‘science’ (or at least not easily or seriously), but the cultural, historical and social elements of the most popular sport in the World (and its global celebration) are okay to be sniffy about it seems. It’s disrupting your television viewing, or making your surrogate living room a little too busy for your liking, and that’s reason enough.
But, dismisser of “the football” is that the root cause? Because you seem to associate the sport with the event, the event with the supporting, and the supporters with a conflation people you don’t much care for.
Because not all football supporters are racist, boorish, loud, suntanned, drunk or even English.
And not everyone will be “supporting”.
Some will be watching, sharing, discussing and enjoying the best players in the World — playing for once without too much financial imperative and on a fairly level playing field (no transfers, no buying success). It can be beautiful.
Football exists not only as a sport, but as a metaphor and conduit for society. Ignore if you will, but don’t dismiss. It’s not clever.