Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Watty's been to the football:

Don't worry, it's not a match report.

I was invited by one of my suppliers (from whom I may, or may not, be about to purchase two rather expensive colour photocopiers), and on the way there, I was musing about how long it had been since I had seen a game 'in the flesh' as it were. I reckon it must have been the 2000 Scottish Cup final, but the less said about that the better, methinks.

Anyway, we settled down to watch Watford play Burnley, and after noting the usual reactions which a live football match inspires in me - a general sense of anticipation, of heightened senses, of real excitement (don't ask me to explain it, it just is), along with the thrill I have had at every match since my first at the age of eight at just how green the pitch is - I can't explain that one, either - I began to feel that this whiole sensation seemed a little odd.

I'm just out of the habit of this, I thought. And that may be true, but more to the point, I'm now in the habit of something else. I no longer watch games the way I used to; I watch them as if I was watching them on TV. Apart from not bothering to take the time to work out who was who - I was waiting for the commentator to tell me - I found I was watching only a small portion of the play around the ball. One of the great things about the game is how much happens away from the ball; one of the joys is spotting the play developing in areas which some of the players haven't seen yet, and being able to anticipate what's going to happen. I found I was having to force myself not to look at the bit of action I would normally be seeing on the TV. Over the course of the evening, I realised this old, ingrained skill was slowly coming back, but I was still quite surprised by the fact that it was missing. I think I need to start going to games again - otherwise, how am I going to teach the boys how to watch?

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