Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm Losing Interest in Soccer

What does one write about on a day where this is the lead Guardian headline: Owen Coyle finalising switch to Bolton from Burnley?

I don't know. I think I'm hitting my first real football slump. Other followers seem to have a genetic predisposition to go apoplectic over running various DEFCON scenarios on an MLS lockout, but recently I haven't been feeling it. I mean this would be the right time; the FA Cup is always a bit of a, "Oh. Yeah. The Cup. Right then" sort of thing anyway. But this time last year I wrote a delightful little post on it, which seems to confirm my own belief that I did once enjoy the tournament quite a lot, actually.

Yesterday I forgot Leeds beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and not Elland Road. Mind you, I had one eye on the game, the other on my Sweeper piece yesterday, and I had to leave for the second half.

But this isn't something you forget in a game as important, and for me traditionally inspiring, as yesterday's. So I've been thinking about it and I think I can trace my growing football-related malaise to when I gave up my cable last year. Ever since I've been relying on a certain website that I'm reticent to name on account of I don't want them to get any attention, positive or negative because I kind of need them to be there for a little while longer. The site, provided to me by a kind reader, provides all the available, higher quality streams for any football game you might wish to see.

I know many of you rely on this site or something similar in lieu of either going to a loud bar far, far away, or paying idiotically high cable fees. But I don't know how much longer I can keep up my interest in football watching it this way. First of all, watching any tiny digitalized screen for longer than your average YouTube video length is hell. And Gmail is right there. I just need to click on it to see that the Fiver I will never read has arrived on time.

But it's not just that. The game doesn't really feel live, the drama feels canned, far away. It's sort of the same complaint you hear from long-distance lovers about Skype; yeah I can see her, but I'm talking to a computer and it's not the same. Obviously television is also a sorry representation of the rawness of being there, but at least television asks you to stay and watch. You've got nowhere else to look.

The game itself, played on the pitch, is the centre of everything. All the rest is just ripples oscillating from the centre. If the centre cannot hold, than the trappings, the surrounding drama, fall apart. It becomes meaningless. I need the real thing. So this week, I'm going in search of live football. Anywhere. Which at this time of year in Toronto means indoor. I have no idea where to begin. I'll let you know how it goes.

Plus, I made number six. I'm very proud.


Richard Farley said...

ennui sticks. i think. i'm not sure. meh.

hope you shake your funk soon. can't say i'm immune to similar feelings. i try to push through in the name of aspiring professionalism. more often, i wish i didn't have to.

Elliott said...

Anytime you follow something as an outsider which no emotional investment or ownership, it can get taxing. Thus, may I suggest the New England WASP-Sham marriage approach? AFFAIR!

Red recently explained to me the rules to cricket - all THREE VERSIONS. Let's jump on this new counterculture bandwagon before it goes all Modest Mouse on us