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This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >     
Do you fail to 'get' football?
Left cold by the world cup?

 5:53 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

The crowd roars in anticipation, assorted footballers amble out from the tunnel, the kickoff is staged and the game is underway. Men jostle for position as the ball flies from end to end, days of training paying off as the ball is propelled into the net.

But do you fail to connect to the game at any personal or emotional level? Would you far rather be watching an action thriller or a comedy on another channel?

I must admit to falling into this group, never finding any enjoyment in watching football. What am I missing? What is the secret attention-holding ingredient of football that I have failed to notice for all these years? Not that I don't like watching any sports - I quite like watching cricket and tennis - but somehow football fails to hold any interest.



 6:39 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Me too vince. Maybe it is something to do with the tribalism of football? If you do not want to lose yourself in the mob, football will not appeal to you.

The other thing is sheer boredom - I went off cricket after living in a country where it plays much the same role as football in Britain. I simply heard too much about it.

The last time I really enjoyed watching a football match was when Wimbledon (where I grew up) won the FA cup (in 1988). The enjoyment was greatly increased by watching it in a room full of Liverpudlians.....


 6:53 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

You are not alone. I never enjoyed sports much, especially as a spectator.

Some people, guys especially, just love it, statistics, the works.
Others (I suspect) just go along with the crowd.

I wonder how much the statistics would change if the social part was removed.
I mean what if all the 'fans' were isolated on some island,
all their needs taken care of, even cable or satellite TV.
Would they watch football etc. given all the other stuff on the tube? -Larry


 7:07 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)


As a late (partial) convert to football, I think that one of its main benefits is an excuse to socialise with large groups of others (eg men) that you don't necessarily know without being thought of as sexually or socially suspect in some way (for example).

IE even in Britain you're just allowed to let your hair down without further explanation be you the Prime Minister or an East Ender when watching footy!




 8:53 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is the secret attention-holding ingredient of football that I have failed to notice for all these years?

For me, compared to other sports, I think it's because real scoring opportunities are rare, so they're exciting when they do happen. Also, with such low scoring, you might miss the play that determines the game if you wander off for a few seconds.


 9:31 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

What is the secret attention-holding ingredient of football that I have failed to notice for all these years?

It is just that football has changed a lot over the last decade. FIFA has done a lot to favorise attacking game by making the goal bigger and banning the pass to the goalkeeper.

I agree that football in the 80s was boring and slow... Now, it is much better.


 9:43 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the only time I've ever watched a football match with any degree of interest is when someone like Germany or England is being unexpectedly thrashed by the Cape Verde Islands or whoever.

Other than that I'm liable to ask questions such as "which team is the one with the white shirts?" and have only a very basic grasp of the rules. I suspect it was because my only real exposure to football during my formative years was at school, where two terminally left feet meant I was invariably the last one to be chosen when the alpha males were picking the teams. (To my great satisfaction those same alpha males - at least when I last checked on one of those "reunited" sites - were still living in the same provincial dump while I've lived my entire adult life in much more exotic locations).


 9:48 am on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've never been a huge football fan (I only really watch the internationals), but I do enjoy watching any sport where there's a real display of extreme skill.

It can be slow sometimes, but when it does happen, it can be fantastic to watch.

Maybe to you it just looks too easy (I always assume that it isn't).

I recently (courtesy of a post back here) watched this Ronaldinho thing where he's plays one-two with the goal crossbar from about 30 yards out 4 times in a row.

I defy anyone to watch that and not think "that's quite amazing".

I assume that video wasn't faked/edited.

When you see that level of skill happen, during a game, it's quite a buzz. A number of Maradona/Pele/Best etc goals spring immediately to mind.

I guess that's why I only really watch the internationals.



 2:34 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)


Hate to be a buzz-kill, but the Ronaldinho crossbar video was faked (I have a post about it in the other thread).

The net shakes on the first hit, but doesn't move on the other "hits". He's also given numerous sly smiles when interviewed about it. ;)


 2:43 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)


What a scam!

Lol. Oh well, in which case I admire the skill of the editing team (net movement notwithstanding!).



 3:06 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I confess. I'm one of those that doesn't get football. I've tried to watch it, but I can't make any sense out of it. For me, it's like Hockey and when I run across either one, it just means I hit the channel button again. That said, I've seen some incredible athleticism displayed so I do watch the highlights.

These days I tend to enjoy sports that pit one person against another. Boxing, baseball, (I'm talking about the pitcher/batter contest) fencing, etc. Lately I've been watching a bit of Lacrosse as I've got a nephew headed to college on a scholarship.

But, I'm not exactly an excitable person, so I'm a bit dismayed when fans rip off clothing, paint their faces and shout themselves hoarse at any event.


 11:10 pm on Jun 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I read a book last night. It was much more entertaining, even if it was a Koontz thriller.


 6:30 pm on Jun 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've never been much impressed with it before, but I've started watching some of the World Cup matches. I've found that TiVo works well for them. I let it get ahead about an hour, then I fast forward until I see the score at the top of the screen change, then I back up to watch the goal.

Of course, I did the same thing with the Super Bowl.... :)

Having said that, I'll probably watch all of the Brazil match just to see Ronaldohino. The videos I've seen of him invoke the same feelings of watching Michael Jordan play. As trillianjedi said, it's enjoyable to watch someone so skilled who also plays with such joy.


 9:31 pm on Jun 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Football is more than just a "game" or a "sport" which is why I imagine a lot of American's don't and never will get it. You have to have a feeling for football to enjoy it. For me my whole identity, my culture, it all revolves around my local football club which dominates my City and has done since the clubw as formed in 1882. My football team represents me, my city and everything I stand for to the outside world and when we win the feeling of pride and joy just can't be matched. It is very tibal too, especially in the UK, my own country.

I'm afraid football will never be a popular mainstream sport in America because it has no roots in the US much like Baseball for example doesn't have any roots in the UK.

My football club means the world to me. If my club is doing well, economically and socially, so does my City and therefore we as people. If we do bad, then the same goes for my City. Like I said, football is more than a game or a sport.

My club has so much history and tradition and is so interlinked with who we are as people and what we are as a city, it's very special.

Our home - the Cathedral on the hill as it's known as dominates our skyline, and sits on a hill overlooking the city in magnificent splendour. Every week 53,000 people (our capacity) go to the match and being a part of that is also very special, 53,000 people singing, waving scarves, flags and cheering on the players that represent you and your city against the rest of the world, it can't be beaten.

American's don't get it because to get footbal you have to relate to it outside of some notion of sport, competition or entertainment, which are all just byproduct's of football, it's about the individual, their pride, belonging, identity and culture.


 9:43 pm on Jun 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well spoken Grassroots. I don't feel quite as awkward about 'not getting it'. And it's not just football, but a plethora of spectator sports that I don't get. Some I understand, more than others, and that helps. I recall once listening to a season of Houston Cougars basketball, and I got it because the radio play-by-play was so rich and descriptive. That's the only time I ever got basketball.

Now I feel all warm and fuzzy again.. think I'll go hug a tree or something.


 9:58 pm on Jun 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

There is no shame in not getting it and even disliking it. I don't get Basebell and couldn't care less neither.


 10:06 pm on Jun 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

I go to to the match as often as I can - usually with my Dad and Grandad - have been for 28 years. It's ingrained into my Blood.

You might say I've had it kicked into me ;)


 11:10 pm on Jun 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Grassroots has made a brilliant post crystalising how important football can be. I was exiled from my home town at the age of four weeks. But still I support that team. It's just natural. A boy and his father often do this together - it's part of growing up and male bonding.

Some of the happiest moments of my life have been watching my team. Internationals, for me, are more difficult because no players from my team play for England and I am not patriotic by nature (even if I believe on balance that this is a good country). But when the World Cup comes along I get to see so many brilliant football skills and underdog nations fighting above their weight. It's great theatre.


 2:37 am on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm greatly heartned by the showing of those who don't 'get' football here. Great support in recent discussions with my in-laws who can't seem to understand someone who'd rather not hear the word football and gets annoyed when scheduled programming is moved to make way for it.

Football is more than just a "game" or a "sport" which is why I imagine a lot of American's don't and never will get it

I just want to add that I'm UK born and bred so don't have the 'excuse' of being American.

A boy and his father often do this together - it's part of growing up and male bonding.

Perhaps that is the issue? I've never been to a football match with any family member and my family are not particularly interested in the game either.

<edit -added>
Another reason I've been toying with is that the problem is there are so many players on a team. That means you have to appreciate the team as a team and not as a collection of skilled individuals, hard if you don't care which team wins. With tennis doubles, for example, even if you don't favour a particular team, there are only four players and you are able to closely observe the invididual skill of each one, bringing enjoyment without the need to be a 'supporter'.


 10:14 am on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

American's don't get it because to get footbal you have to relate to it outside of some notion of sport, competition or entertainment, which are all just byproduct's of football, it's about the individual, their pride, belonging, identity and culture.

I'm glad somebody understands Americans. Now, if you understand women, would you please explain them too (start another thread, of course).


 1:25 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Of course some American's will get it, my own home town team has supporter club's in America and other nations and when we did a pre-season tour of the States in 2000, we were well supported as a result. These supporters have no connection with my club, no blood ties, yet they are as passionate as I am with many actually coming to my home town to watch a live game or two. They do get it for some reason.

While they are passionate and get it, they will not however feel what I do for my team because the majority of feeling comes from identity, culture and pride which can only come from being born in the city or town of your football club.

You're born into football, if you belong to a certain City you will follow that club for the rest of your life, your father or peers will pass on football to you, you can't escape it because it is so ingrained in the culture and identity of the region and people.

I hated football up until I was 11 and now I've been following my club home and away for 15 years without fail, my kids will too and their kids and their kids.

A lot of it is to do with community and regional pride.

I'd say football is a very special social and cultural experience that no other sport can compete with or compare.

The US's roots in football are non-existant. It's a sport that is adopted as a form of entertainment and competition. In my own country, football started out as a game to be played for fun by the poor and working class - a form of opera for them or some other thing they couldn't afford if you like. Football isn't a form of entertainment, it's a way of live, part of life. It is the undisputed number one sport in the world watched by and played by over 2 billion people in all four corners of the globe.

Football isn't about class, wealth, education or status, it's a global sport anyone can enjoy and be a part of regardless of their class, race, religion or wealth.

The US are over in Germany participating in the WC, only a small fraction of the US is interested however. My own club has the support of an entire city and parts of the region, even those that can't stand football, those who don't go. They support the club because it's a part of their culture and identity too and is a beacon of regional pride so they want the club to do well, to win, even if they couldn't name who wears the number 9 shirt or who plays in goal.

That's a key difference and for me highlights just why the US for example will never ever get football like I won't get Baseball, because it's not in my blood. Football is however, there is a saying: cut us open and we would bleed black and white, the colors of my home town team. That is replicated all over the world for people and their club's.

It's very hard to describe to people what my own club means to me because I don't even know myself, all I know is that those 90 minutes during a match are just a snippet of what it means and outside of the match, when the final whistle blows and they chuck you out of the stadium, the "game" still goes on, 24-7. We live, breathe, eat and sleep football as one famous fizzy pop brand once promoted in a commercial of theirs.

One of the most often asked questions by non football fans is: What's so beautiful about the so-called beautiful game then?


And that's not even getting into what happens on the pitch. Did anyone see Argentina's second goal yesterday? Or how many saw Maradona's second goal against England (#*$! ;) in 86? That's beauty.


 1:32 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Anyone who doesn't get football, if you're on your hols in England say, go and watch a football match, mingle with the fans of said team, walk about the ground an hour before kick-off and stay around the ground an hour after kick-off, you will enjoy it I know that much. You may walk away thinking the actual game was boring or not worth the ticket price, but you will leave thinking hey, I could get used to the actual ritual of it all and that my friends is what it's all about, the game itself out on the pitch being the icing on the cake so to speak for those of us with the blood in our veins. Try it sometime :)


 2:07 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

PS If I've patronised any American's with my comments or made some sweeping generalisations, I don't mean to offend.


 2:47 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I love the hooligans,the drunken mobs that attack people in the streets ,in the stands and sometimes even attack the players on the field .

It's hard not see how you all swell up with Pride


Yeah ..put me in the it's a boring game category


 3:36 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have never, not in 15 years of following my club home and abroad, encountered any of those things personally. I know it exists but it's a very small minority these days. You're more likely to get mugged walking down your street than being beaten up at a football match, unless you go looking for trouble. Hooligans tend to only fight other hooligans, the hope is that they wipe each other out. Since the 70s and 80s where it was quite common, all traces seem to have been wiped out these days (in the UK anyway) thankfully.

Anyway, watching Baseball or some other anal sport is a lot worse for your health, I hear boredom can kill ;)


 4:19 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

We don't need to argue culture. Let's play nice.


 6:33 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Shut it you or I'll kick your head in using my football boots while singing God save the Queen ;)


 11:05 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

would you please explain them too
A single thread? It would be longer than any G-Update thread, and probably just as confusing and speculative. However,
What Do Women Really Want? [webmasterworld.com] has proven to be helpful ;)

Now back to my regularly scheduled non-football day.


 11:14 pm on Jun 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey Grassroots - I complimented your post and I've just realised we are meant to be deadly enemies!

My dad in the 50s and 60s used to go and watch Sunderland one week and Newcastle the next week (home games were alternated). How things have changed. However, because I'm such an exile from the North East, I can allow myself to think your teams fans are great. Pity you're not Mackems though. See you in a year or two.


 11:07 am on Jun 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Aye my grandad used to go to St. James' when we were playing at home and Roker when we were playing away, Newcastle was his team but he loved football so much he would go and watch the enemy if we weren't playing, a lot of Geordies and mackems did that. Now that would never happen.

Good to speak to a fellow North Easterner on here :)

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