Yes. You guessed it right. The football fever has pushed my already frenzied brain to a super excited state, even though only four days have passed. It has been kind of fun watching goalkeepers wrestle with the Jabulani ball, although Robert Green can offer no such excuses.
One of my friends who, until now had not interest whatsoever in football (weird, isn’t he/she?) suddenly found himself/herself drawn to the game. This left me wondering as to what the reason behind this could be. Well, international football matches are not played as often as cricket matches. In one way, football and cricket have one ‘striking’ difference: in the former, domestic leagues are more popular, while in the latter, international matches overshadow domestic games.
With the advent of the IPL, society’s perception of both football and cricket has changed. The IPL has no doubt increased viewership, but it has also drastically increased the frustration levels of wounded souls like my own, not to mention the reduction in activity for the other part of an individual, the body. Now, the entertainment industry has a new component that is pronounced as ‘cricket’, but is spelt ‘C-O-M-M-E-R-C-I-A-L-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N’.
In my opinion, all the above reasons have made people turn to football as an alternative ‘passion’. In this case, ‘people’ includes only the hoi polloi and not football fanatics, like some of my friends are, and I myself am. In football, there are no commercial breaks every four minutes, no ‘strategic time breaks’, and definitely no ‘miked-up’ player who is perennially jobless so as to engage the commentators in a stirring conversation with wonderful insights on the ‘charged-up crowd’ and the ‘electric atmosphere’.
(Note to self: You seem to be using the ‘quotes’ way too often. See, you did it again!)
From a layman’s point of view, football seems to be the easiest sport to follow. There are no complicated rules in football like the lbw in cricket (especially when you are six and you have Ravi Shastri offering his opinion in his not-so-drone-like voice). The rules are fairly straightforward. Don’t use your hands when the ball is in play!
Some of the fanatics mentioned above are also avid footballers themselves. These people may argue that rules like offside are difficult to adhere to once you start playing the game. Touché. I agree with you one hundred percent. As a person who has been both a footballer and a referee at competitive levels (semi-competitive, at the very least), I speak from experience. It is really difficult to spot an offside offence when your linesmen are underpaid and take puff-breaks every two minutes! However, watching football, per se isn’t all that bad, that is, if you can withstand the extremely annoying vuvuzela horn at this year’s World Cup!
Sadly, the same cannot be said of other sports (or games, whatever you prefer to call them, ignoring Hemingway’s bullfighter comment). I personally find it hard to follow American football (or rugby for that matter), baseball and golf. Although I can figure out the basics by myself, I cannot understand the scoring patterns and other complicated stuff without external help. Sometimes, you just want to think of the whole effort as an exercise in futility.
An elderly gentleman, who happens to be related, once visited my residence. If my memory serves me right, it was during the 2001 Formula 1 season. Mika Hakkinen, who was leading, suddenly had a clutch problem on the last lap and had to leave the race. I was elated because Michael Schumacher won the race.
This gentleman caught me jumping with joy and seemed to think I was a little insane, though I don’t blame him one bit. I explained myself and tried to enlighten him on the nuances of motor racing. He made only one statement; call it a repartee or a punch-in-the-face, but it left me stunned. He said and I quote “All this sounds great, but don’t you think these people are wasting money and fuel just because a bunch of lunatics want to show off their craziness by travelling at breakneck speeds?”
I was rendered speechless and somewhat offended by his naiveté and lack of understanding, but thinking of it now, it makes complete sense. I still follow Formula 1, but it makes me think every time. Just another random point that I wanted to make, although I have no idea why I did that.
For those of you who have become frustrated after reading this long piece of ‘work’, I have something that might have a good sunniness quotient. I have recently been inspired by the “Doppelganger series” on Cricinfo’s Page 2 site (ironic, isn’t it, considering all the abuse the cricket has had to face in this post) and I have tried to find some similar looking celebrities by myself. From now on, I’ll try to fit in a doppelganger post along with every blog post that I make.
Ryan Giggs from Manchester United, Mike Dirnt from Green Day, and maybe on some level, D J Qualls, who played Sheldon Cooper’s cousin Leopold in The Big Bang Theory.
(Hey, don’t blame me if you can’t spot the similarity!)