Wednesday, September 26, 2012

On research

Sometimes you have to investigate things that you don't find particularly interesting. Lately I've been thinking about all I know about a particular sport - soccer or European football - and realise I know shag-all about it. I've never been all that interested in it. I've never understood the whole tribal fan thing, the notion of following a team and attending all their games, and being uncritically supportive, and even getting drawn into fights, riots, and other unsavoury things attributed to football fans who are inclined to hooliganism.

(I don't mean to imply that being a football fan automatically means you're a football hooligan. On the contrary. I have a lot of respect for loyalty. But people who follow blindly and don't think, those people I want to kick until they wake the feck up. You were given a brain. Use it.)

 Sadly, what with the media being what it is, the nasty side of football is what is brought to my attention. Nasty messages to players on Twitter, for example. Or fans chanting things like 'you couldn't score in a brothel'. Or the bane of all sportsmen and women: allegations of taking drugs to enhance one's performance. It's very easy to forget the hours and hours of training professional sports people have put in in order to reach the level that puts them in the national teams. They pay a price for that, and okay, the salaries for some of those guys - and yes, it's only really the men, women footballers are not recognised or rewarded in the same manner - are astronomical, but still .... What they do for their art is overshadowed by what they earn for being famous, and the focus that's on them through the media. It's a sad fact. Even I've heard of David Beckham, mainly because of his very media-savvy wife Victoria, a former Spice Girl. But I don't know much about his football.

So, as part of my investigating this thing of football, for which the media has pretty deadened my enthusiasm, I think I will look into the history of the game. I mean, I've had practice in my day job researching things I normally wouldn't have heard of, or wouldn't be interested in. Sometimes you need to bypass the bright colours in the sunshine and check out what lurks in the shadows. Dig some dirt. Find out something you really didn't care to know. 

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