Hmm. Now I look at it, that title may give the impression that I suffer from some sort of embarrassing social disease. Well, to be honest, I do, as loving football is still looked upon as something vaguely unpleasant and not to be talked about in polite company. As you know, I love football ( see “Football Crazy”) to a fault and like any true fan spent most of the second quarter of this year with bated breath in anticipation of the extravaganza that is The World Cup. Just to turn it up to eleven, not only was this years’ Copa das Copas held in Brasil, but my dad was here for the first time in two years.
Four years ago I thought that South Africa would be the last World Cup my dad and I would watch together, so this year had a special poignancy to it. Logistics took the lead as I only have my desktop monitor to view the games and that makes for a less than ideal situation, so I was pleasantly surprised when my ex said that it was O.K. for us to watch some of the games at her house while she and the kids were at Disneyland. Seeing as she has a 60″ HD screen, I jumped at the chance.
For the first two weeks my dad and I looked at the schedule and decided where to watch the game depending on which teams were playing and the kick off times. Of course, we watched the first two England games on the big screen, all the better to watch our pathetic performances and well deserved defeats. Watching England is a soul destroying experience at best, and this was not best by any means. Mind you, the 5-1 thrashing Holland gave to Spain took some beating as a spectacular game.
For some reason, when talking about the U.S. team, he always calls them “You lot” as if my having lived here for 22 years somehow makes me no longer English, which I think is rather amusing. I will admit to following the “Von Trapps” with a great deal of enthusiasm, but I’m still a proud and loyal Englishman, so the team that represents the country of my children’s birth will never be more than second choice.
Of course, the highlights of the tournament were the Germany v. Brazil semi final which showed beyond any doubt just what an incredible game football is and made even more laughable (if that were possible) the eyewateringly high level of ignorance displayed by Ann Coulter in a recent article that did the rounds on social media – Excuse me while I disinfect my keyboard – and Tim Howard’s amazing display against Belgium
However, the weirdest part of the whole tournament was the final. My dad was basically wherever the kids were, and Final day saw them with their mum. My sweetie and I were both invited to watch the final there and it was without doubt the weirdest experience of my life to watch a football game with my ex on one side of me and my sweetheart on the other. I have to say that my sweetie was very nervous about the whole situation, but displayed a level of aplomb and courtesy that just emphasised how much our relationship means. There are not many women who would share a couch with their boyfriends’ ex for the sake of a football game.
The World Cup is always something of a Curate’s Egg, and while the bad parts are truly dreadful – yes, I’m looking at you, England – the good parts are to be relished and savoured like a fine single malt whisky shared with good friends. The best part of it is the male bonding. My dad and I get very little one on one time and the World Cup gave us the opportunity to spend true quality time together by staring at a screen and moaning as the team in white disappointed us once again, just as we’d expected.
And yes, I can’t wait for Russia 2018. Only a little over 1,400 days to go and I’m already looking for a suitable pen with which to fill in my wall chart.