I am desperate to win something playing football, but men keep ruining it
I don’t know why I want it so much, but I suspect it’s something to do with not finding much value in life beyond trivial validation and competition.
The idea of winning something with my friends, having a big hug and a nice little picture just seems really lovely, and something I, personally, would really like.
And how close I’ve come over the years, only to have my dream of winning an amateur tournament of no real value fall at the final hurdle.
My history of failure is not just limited to big football, having also contrived to lose two cup finals at five-a-side.
One was even in my home village, giving my dad the nostalgic spectacle of being disappointed by my performance as an adult.
At university, I captained the philosophy football team, River Plato, like the legendary athlete and beacon of masculinity I am.
Unfortunately we were beaten to the league by our bitter rivals the Greek Society, in our very own tragedy.
After graduating I tried joining pub teams, only to discover they took it more seriously than my former team which had pink kits and philosophers’ names on the back.
Not just by beating me, to clarify, but rather by being throbbing toads of masculinity incapable of separating the game from their desire for confrontation.
In my long and trophyless career as a footballer, I have seen teammates fight each other, opponents kick the ball out the park in protest, or simply punch someone.
Now I am a very masculine man, I love pints, goals and snogging girls, honestly, but I draw the line at literal violence.
Making my debut for an Irish pub team, I had to break up a fight between the goalkeeper, on my team, and a winger, also on my team.
Standing between two men throwing fists without knowing their names was not the fun game I had expected, and maybe that’s what football is.
Heading to the changing room at full time, I ran far faster than I had on the pitch when I realised a full-on brawl had erupted.
Another game saw me called a “f****** c**t” for telling someone to stop threatening to elbow his teammate.
It’s the same for watching it, with fans kept apart by police, yet still routinely finding time to throw things at each other.
I don’t know why it’s like this, it isn’t in other sports, and really doesn’t have to be.
Tennis is a safe space aside from the antivaxxer, rugby is only ruined by posh people, and cricket doesn’t count because it’s boring.
With this a problem almost exclusive to the men’s game, there is a possibility we are just too emotional for sport.
Yet I persevere, hoping if my friends and I join a different team, an alternative level, we might be able to finally lift a trophy.
I would love to win something at football, it’s just a shame toxic men with a need to bleed ruin it.