World Cup Fever

It’s official – it is contagious. Not only did I shock myself recently by writing about politics, but now I’m doing something else I never thought I’d do: writing about football!

Soccer ball

There’s a long-term rivalry in my household, with my little brother and I referring to the sport as soccer, and my other half staunchly calling it football. Whilst it is fun to wind Cam up about the name, it was really moot point as I had absolutely no interest in the game and even less chance of watching it. So I’ve really been happily oblivious to the last few weeks of World Cup Fever.

Before I continue, I’d like to apologise to our ActionPodcast fans and the AP team for being late with my blog post this week. My reminder system clearly wasn’t foolproof and when I read Paul’s reminder email late last night I was horrified that I’d missed my deadline; and equally shocked because the reason I received Paul’s message so late was that I was watching the England vs Algeria game instead of being online! I need not say more about that game… but it did get me thinking about the fact that you should never say never:- and it can be quite an experience to do something you would normally actively avoid.

Watching the game last night, and today’s Australia vs Ghana match (which I secretly enjoyed!), have taught me a few things:

  • I watch soccer like my dad! (ie. jumping forward in my seat, calling out at the screen, emotionally sharing the excitement and disappointment of the players and fans).
  • I can tune out even the most incessantly annoying noise (ie. the vuvuzela football horns) when I’m focused intently on something – which is quite a feat given my sensitive hearing!
  • I’m a genuine good sport, and it is more important to me how a game is played rather than just the end result.

What is interesting is that I always teased my dad about his sport-watching behaviour, that I kept asking Cam to turn the TV down when he was watching other football matches because of the whine of vuvuzela, and I was opposed to soccer because they always seemed to fall to the ground pretending to be hurt like extremely overpaid sissies when ‘real’ footballers (rugby players) take full body contact in their stride!

However, in the last 24 hours I’ve discovered that ‘active’ sports watching can be fun and compelling, that my mind and attention are more powerful than even my near-perfect hearing, and that good football doesn’t have to involve people diving for penalties, but players can still get accidentally hurt and even the best guys sometimes pull on a shirt or tackle late when under pressure.

I’ll even confess to being interested in watching some more of the World Cup games… Perhaps all the things we try to avoid could teach us as much?

May wonders never cease!