I don’t “get” football

June 12, 2006

I know nothing about football and the world cup will float by me. I won’t be impacted by who is playing whom and I’m comfortable in my (very) small bubble of 1 or 2 who simply don’t “get” football.
When ever I say I’m not interested in the world cup I’m met with incredulous stares…as though I’ve committed some act of treason and declared that the emperor well and truly has no clothes. I appear to say the unsayable, nay the unthinkable, that something so fine can leave me cold. And not only that – but I’m happy with it – blissful in my ignorance, amused at the reaction of fans but largely unscathed by the whole thing. How many times in business do we look askance at those who simply don’t “get” our point of view? Or our product? How many times do we imply either verbally or non-verbally that there’s something “wrong” with them and something “right” with us? Without inquiring into how the other makes sense of their situation?
There was a time when I would have felt patronised and put down by the evangelists who tried to persuade me that my life was lacking due to an ignorance of football. (Golf has the same effect incidentally). These days I can practice a benign distance. I admire their passion. I will gladly appreciate how football has made their lives more meaningful. I don’t feel as though I have to defend my disinterest and it’s nice if the footie fans can recognise that there is room for a different view about the month of June which for me will be filled with sunshine, travel, work, study, time outdoors etc. So long as we can both respect the difference then I think we can live together quite comfortably.
So the world cup is a month long exercise in living with difference, mine and theirs and myriad views in between. It’s neither good nor bad, it simply “is”.

2 People reacted on this

  1. Here, here. Me too. I’ve learned to accept people who can’t stand golf or cricket. It took me a while, and a lot of wasted energy trying to persuade others to appreciate the magic of both games. The only good thing I can think to say about my futile efforts is that it helped me to develop my own appreciation of those noble games. I’ve become more articulate about my own cause, even though it no longer matters to me whether anyone agrees with me.
    The state funeral should distract some from the footie.

  2. Annette,
    Have you looked at team sports in studying leadership?
    The English team have great individual players but have poor leadership.
    The manager is packing his bags to move on and the Captain couldn’t lead his kids to the park.
    If the English team had a stronger leader, Gerrard for example, they would be much much stronger.

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