We went to a huge sports-themed restaurant in Orlando, Florida while on vacation. Our friend loves football, my partner loves football and the two English teams they support were playing a game against each other.
no problem. The restaurant was the kind I used to live in. It had a “giant” pretzel on the menu, a biscuit so large that it hung from a strange custom-made utensil on your table, with condiments including jalapeño queso and Bertman ball park mustard whatever that was. To be fair, they got me into “The Giant”.
The restaurant was booked at 3pm Orlando time which is 8pm English time. It was booked before we left Ireland because my friend knew that the match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC would be shown on every screen at the specially chosen venue.
I was skeptical about this, but, sure enough, Liverpool and Manchester played on every screen in the venue. small screens. big screens. Nearly 100 high definition screens. I was amazed. Which is absurd given the massive popularity the Premier League has around the world and the amount of money involved. But then I have a blind spot the size of a football field when it comes to hand holding and football in general. I just don’t get it.
No one has outdone me at Swingball including my kids because unfortunately they don’t seem to have inherited my killer swing ball gene
I’m not an athlete but that’s not the whole story. Because even though I’m not an athlete, I appreciate a wide variety of sports. I can happily spend hours watching some of them. I’ve always loved watching snooker. The ball-setting charms of seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan combined with his anti-authoritarian streak make for great TV viewing. I’ve been watching dishes all day. I have a soft spot for badminton, tennis and table tennis. Anything with a racket, basically.
Dishes on Ice
Fortunately I will watch people throw the javelin in the middle distance or watch the runners walk around an athletics field. At some point during the Winter Olympics, I became seriously obsessed with curling, which I assume were just bowls on ice, and was heavily invested in the procedures.
I’m not an athlete at all in the participatory sense. Well unless you count the swing ball you mention now, I do. I won a gold medal in that sport at Irish College nearly 40 years ago. The only gold medal I’ve ever won in anything in any arena. I still feel like an undefeated champion. No one has outdone me at Swingball including my kids because unfortunately they don’t seem to have inherited the killer swingball gene.
Anyway, I don’t think it’s character building to let kids win things just because they’re smaller and weaker.
I think, even at 50 with dribbling knees and fitness issues, if someone considered swing ball an Olympic sport, I’d go through the Ireland qualifiers, go to the Olympics and bring back a gold medal, barely sweating. I’ll be Kellie Harrington from Swingball but with a big yellow plastic paddle instead of a boxing glove.
And you can laugh, but I know I have the power to make that feat inside of me and that’s all that matters.
So, you see, I get into sports on some level, but this obsession with football that some people have shown in my life is not something I will ever understand. I put them in the same box as other groups of people I can’t understand: people who keep mice as pets or people who enjoy eating raw celery.
I don’t judge the football team. I actually feel like I don’t appreciate the source of their passion for failure in me, like the way I try and fail to get into the music of Joanna Newsom. And while I find football boring as a spectator sport, I understand that it is attractive to some.
To extract football-related indifference even further, my lack of appreciation often surrounds the cult-like devotion to following a team since childhood. To the extent that their success or failure affects your mood and existence. This is what I cannot and will never understand.
For example, I have two ardent, since childhood, Liverpool Football Club fans in my life. They are happier and better adapted people these days because their team is doing so well. (That success, to my untrained eye, is because their team is run by a guy named Jürgen Klopp, someone I can really get excited about, but that’s another story.)
I asked someone to explain the history and current situation in relation to Liverpool Football Club. He said: “We grew up supporting a team that won everything. We thought it was going to last forever. Then overnight they were horrible, we spent over 30 years mostly in the wilderness. And suddenly Manchester United – our hated rival – was fantastic. That went on for almost 20 A year.United fans think it will last forever.Now they are terrible and we are great again.
“a cynical adult”
“These things make up who you are. You went from a very optimistic kid to a very cynical adult about what happened at Liverpool Football Club. All the bad players that bought them, you shrugged your shoulders and said, ‘Yeah, that’s because the world a**.” But now, because they They’re doing a good job, I’m a middle-aged optimist.”
I found out while researching this column that Liverpool Football Club is playing in something called the FA Cup Final this weekend
His entire emotional landscape has been transformed and recast, all because of the current good fortunes of Liverpool Football Club – who, incidentally, beat Manchester United by four goals as we watched them on nearly 100 HD screens in Orlando, Florida.
Nearby, a family of mum, dad and two kids – obviously Liverpool supporters – were loudly supporting their team but in a way that was sarcasm and mean against United. It is this tribal aspect that is partly away from me. Or maybe I’m jealous. I probably wish I had something like this in my life. Something that leads you to the heights of happiness and then leads you into surprising and unexpected depths, like Splash Mountain in Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Anyway, if it helps, I found out while researching this column that Liverpool FC are playing in something called the FA Cup Final this weekend and also that they will be in Paris at the end of the month for something else called the Champions League final. Good luck to all concerned.
I’ll be sitting on the sidelines trying to solve the riddle of the people in my life who know the agony of that special ecstasy, and dream of giant, Olympic-swinging cupcakes.