Whether you’re into sport or not, there’s a fairly good chance – no matter where you are in the world – that you’ll be aware the football world cup is currently in progress. If, like me, you’re a UK resident, there is absolutely no escaping it. (Note for American readers: This isn’t football as you know it, rather it is what I believe you call soccer, and unlike your ‘world series’, which is notable for the fact that the rest of the world isn’t remotely involved or interested, the world cup is – I’m told – an international event).
Now, I’m not hugely into sport at the best of times. I have an interest in one or two activities, in which I’ve personally participated, and I can occasionally stir some sort of interest in the odd rugby union match, but other than that there’s very little in the world of sport that I can get enthused about, much less to a degree where I might be persuaded to follow a particular team or participant. If, for example you were to pick a sport and ask me which team I support, my answer will invariably be ‘I don’t’.
I understand, of course, that I’m possibly in the minority here and that most people can whip up at least some enthusiasm come Wimbledon, the cup final, the golfing thing, the formula 1 thing, the Olympic thing, and so on; and I have no argument with that. I’m all for people being allowed to enjoy their own particular sport, or sports, and even to get a bit riotous and emotional about it at times. However, everything in moderation, I say, and there comes a time when I really don’t want to know about it. Football in particular is a sport that I give very short shrift – I fail to see any real skill required to play; I abhor the crassness and posturing of the ridiculously overpaid prima donnas that prance around the field; and I’m appalled by the offensive and thug like behaviour of so many of those who profess to be football supporters.
I used to live opposite the main entrance to a rugby stadium which was also used to host football matches. Even during the most high profile rugby matches, the atmosphere was fun and friendly and there was never any trouble. Never. Football matches were a different matter altogether – the hostility and tension was palpable, the chants of the crowds were ugly, busloads of police officers would arrive with dogs, horses and riot shields, fans would be separated at the railway station and marched through town under police escort, never allowed to cross paths with their rivals. On those days, I stayed indoors and kept a low profile.
I can’t see that the behaviour has improved at all with the world cup – what sort of mentality drives someone to celebrate a win by chanting anti-semitic songs, performing nazi salutes and trashing ambulances?
Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to avoid the blasted thing, especially inworld, where it seems that wherever I go, whoever I’m with and whatever I’m doing, there is only one thing worth talking about, ad nauseum. Every day. Every venue. Every avatar. It is boring, immensely irritating and at times, downright ignorant and offensive. The other aspect of this whole thing that I find particularly annoying is that – being a UK resident – everybody seems to think that I should be pleased because England are, apparently, doing quite well. I am, however, not English and – if I did support any team – I would invariably support whoever was playing against England. In point of fact, I couldn’t give a camel’s rotten snot ball whether they win, lose or get marched off to the salt mines for crimes against humanity. I just don’t care. But, let’s get one thing straight – it’s not my team and I don’t care to be lumped into the collective ‘we’ when it comes to celebrating their success.
Nevertheless, I still have to put up with the constant wittering on about this ridiculous tournament and its equally ridiculous teams wherever I am in SL, and it’s reached the point where it’s actually spoiling the things I should really be enjoying. If I’m at an inworld music event, I’m there for the music and dancing and the fun exchanges with friends, not to be barraged by a constant flow of chat about last night’s game; and not to have to suffer the DJ’s fawning monologues on the merits of his team, ad infinitum; and quite definitely not to be subjected to a relentless playlist of awful, talentless and meaningless football songs, extolling the virtues of a team that I have not even a passing interest in.
I have therefore taken the rather draconian step of muting people on my friends list who insist on talking about football; should the audio stream take a turn towards that subject matter, I reach for the off button and resort to Youtube instead, and should this blasted affair go on for much longer, I’ll be absenting myself from any event where the subject is likely to be mentioned. Because, basically, I’m not having fun right now as a result of it.
Hey, if you’re into football: Fine. But build yourself a little football sim, where you can invite all your football friends to chat about football to their hearts’ content, whilst listening to football themed music and wearing football themed clothing – but don’t bother inviting me, because I’ll be somewhere else.
White man came across the sea
He brought us pain and misery
He killed our tribes he killed our creed
He took our game for his own need
Hellsongs – Run To The Hills