Saturday, May 08, 2004

up from football
Pausing only to commend the Mirror's tenacious fightback over it's British army coverage, I think it's time for a small torture free period here at blood & treasure - at least until the movie premiere.

Instead, lets turn to the last day of the football season. Crooked Timber directs my attention to Simon Kuper's piece in the FT on ther psychological scars of footy madness.

This would just be the story of one man's psychopathology, were it not that millions of people live like this. It is one of the great undiscussed conditions. At a party recently, I confessed to our captain: "When we lose and I suck, I'm upset for days." He shrugged: "It's the same for most people who play football."

I was a football monomaniac in my teenage years, until the gradual process of acquiring a life pushed me away from the game. About halfway through this process I decided to put a positive spin on things and renounce it formally. I wouldnt follow my club's progress. I'd switch over if anything came on the TV and pointedly ignore the sports pages from August to May, after which it didn't matter anyway.

The effect of this was to make clear that what I thought were just the standard aches and pains of life were really withdrawal symptoms. That sense of summer aimlessness stayed for years - for a fan, summer is just a blank space where you wait for life to start up again. And for many years I would get bowel cramps at half past four every Saturday. In times past, this would be because I was at the match waiting out the last fifteen minutes, or sat home twitching in front of the teleprinter on Final Score. It took years before I could reach five o clock without feeling physically sick.

But I'm all better now. Like Will Buckley, I'm up from football. I have absolutely no knowledge of the fact that Stoke City have reached mid table safety after a free fall in results was turned around by the inspired loan signing of Gerry Taggart from Leicester. Even oif I did know these things, I would be supremely indifferent to them and to the fact that the last game of the season - at home to Gillingham - could see a return to division two for the Gills, if their former manager Tony Pulis succeeds in gaining revenge on his former club, which he left acrimoniously. To me, the game which starts tomorrow at 3.pm is simply so much cosmic dust floating in a meaningless universe.

update: 0-0. Monkey spunk. I didn't say that, because I don't care any more.