I don't have much of a reason to complain either: my husband isn't a great football fan - he can take it or leave it. He's more into cricket, and, as he points out, that's the ideal spectator sport for a family man: you just put the radio on and get on with your day to day business. So this rant is purely on your behalf. Selfless.
I'm not great with ball games myself - I tend to duck if a ball comes at me - but if little children have to get muddy and learn team work as part of their physical education, then I'm all for it. Where I get twitchy, is when it becomes a boy thing. Boys play football. Girls, occasionally are allowed to join in, if they're really good. But they're only allowed to join the ball kicking part, not the rites of passage, belonging, part. That's for boys only. And for men.
I've heard all sorts of nonsense as to why football is important. That it's a working men's thing, that it brings the whole world together. What about working women? How come they get to watch the kids while the men are stuck in front of the tv with their cans of beer? And the whole world? Tcha! Half of it!
So sure, some women like to watch the footie. If I'm honest I have to say it can actually be mildly interesting to watch little men run around a field after a ball. In the way that it's interesting to watch a hamster go through a system of tubes and wheels. And I get that people are all excited about goals - it's easy to get shouty when a whole lot of other people are shouting around you.
But it is exclusive. For several weeks every year, there is some kind of cup on, and life is suddenly all about men. There's traffic in the streets and noise at night because men celebrate, women are stranded with the children, holidays are arranged around men's needs to see a match.
But it's not only the exclusion of women that sucks. Football as a spectator sport encourages nationalism of the worst kind. It doesn't encourage people to value their own country, but to hate others. It creates a sense of belonging that is, let's face it, fairly meaningless - the Chelsea team isn't about Chelsea lads, now, is it? - and also, frankly, loutish. It's people ganging up together, gathering around a war cry, and a flag (or scarf). In what way is that helping people around the world unite?
And then there's the violence, the mob killings and the organised crimes, the money-making, the drug trafficking: in what way is any of this good for the working man? Why does anyone tolerate it?
So then they'll say that football is an important part of being male, that it taps into something primordial and ancient? I say if that's what you're into, get off your arses and go hunt a mammoth. And take the kids with you while you're at it, so we can stay home and do something useful, like paint our nails or get drunk.
(Oh, and if you're about to say that you like football because you enjoy watching the men, let me point out that they do very good magazines for women now, where the men in the pics don't wear the rather unflattering socks and nylon shorts. And if you prefer your men in sports gear, I'd suggest you watch American football, where you get rather less of the short, hairy and shouty prima donna).
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Posted by Sandrine at 23:51