I remember the time in life I realised that I didn’t have to pretend to actually like football. As a 14 year old in an all boys school (and desperately trying to pass as a straight person) this was a great relief. Having not grown up in a household where football was of any importance whatsoever – a grace for which I am yet to thank my genius parents – being dropped into a world where the lingua franca was whatever player performed well that week, and whether Liverpool or Everton would do well that season*, was all a big culture shock. Coming from a city where you were either a Red or a Blue, I seemed to confound comprehension of my peers by choosing neither. But as I dipped my toes into the waters of Not-Giving-A-Hot-Shit (a place I would soon dive into body and soul) I became more and more myself.
I guess my ten year journey has led me to here then. An almost completely different person in many respects but still me at heart. So it is with tentative trepidation that I find myself secretly googling the results of world cup matches. My eyes are glued to any screen showing a game and I honestly have favourite teams and have mapped out a strategy of who’s going to win. Or at least – who I want to win.
It’s not that I’m suddenly actually interested in football, it’s more that I’ve unexpectedly found that I can appreciate the beautiful game. I see patterns and formations, I can anticipate goals and game developments quite intuitively. I think I need to be deeply involved in the game in some other life, my brain appears to be hard-wired for it in a way most other peoples aren’t. It’s disconcerting to find that one of my inbuilt aptitudes is for a thing I have such disdain for. I think I have much self-examining to do when the tournament is over.
And so this sudden life epiphany has me all pre-disposed to think about change and how suddenly it can occur even when the tide seems to be against it. And forgive me for this rather jagged segue into a different topic, but on this Pride weekend we’re marking 45 years since the Stonewall Riots.
In less than half a century, my people (that’s right, I’m the Moses to society’s anit-gay Pharaoh) have gone from an imprisoned minority to being plastered annoyingly across every channel you could hope to watch. Louis Spence prances round like a knob, Alan Carr flaps and cackles live on our screens, and Graham Norton slathers us with bitchy sass while we watch Eurovision. And we FUCKING LOVE IT. I think that we need to take a moment to realise just how massive this is.
While other political groups are still campaigning or fighting for their cause, often with violence, all we did was stand up and shout loudly and gayly and people listened. After all, it’s hard to ignore such an immaculately dressed interest group.
Perhaps this feeds into my new love for non-violence and leanings towards Jainism (please don’t be alarmed when you wikipedia that and see all the Swastikas – they invented the symbol and the Nazis just stole it) but I think that even if you disagree with us – you can’t deny we have a killer PR team.
Yay for equal rights, yay for non-violence, yay for football, and yay for The Netherlands – YOU CAN DO IT!
*I’ve yet to actually take the time to actually work out how long a football season is and why this matters. The season always seems to be starting and ending.