"Aw c'mon, you Russkie arsepiece!"
Meeester and I try to have one evening a week where we do something all together with the kids that doesn’t involve computer games or telly (“Just one, Misssy?” “Yes just one, I’m not Mary flippin’ Poppins here!”)
The telly is switched off and each week it is someone’s turn to choose what we do. Last night it was Junior Misssy’s turn and she simply chose for us to go to the school playground with bikes and balls and stuff. Nice choice Junior, nice cheap choice. I like that.
Indy likes basketball, so at one point Meeester and I are playing against Indy and his mate, Socks ( that is to be his Misssives moniker, as he once wore five pairs of socks to come across to our house from his as he couldn’t find his shoes). After we sorted out vandalised bent hoops by means of Misssy getting a “shouldery*” from Meeester and displaying her superhuman iron-straightening prowess, we had a blast of a game.
Meanwhile, outside the basketball court, there was football practice going on with boys around the same age as Indy and Socks. At one lull in the pathetically competitive efforts of Meeester and Misssy to whip Socks and Indy’s asses in our game, we heard one footballing boy shout to his mate, “If you can’t get that goal then that makes you gay, right?!”
Sheesh! What? Whaaaat????
Trouble is that kind of abusive (not to mention homophobic) nonsense isn’t just for ten year olds. Not where football’s concerned.
Meeester plays football every week after work with nine or ten other professional and decent men who should really know better.
Each week he comes back with injuries to both pride and ligaments. Each week, arguments have erupted, spirits have been crushed and names have been called. Each week someone takes the huff and quits. Abuse is casually whirled around the hall like they are actually in a prison yard rather than a polite local community centre.
Years ago, my Uncle also used to play football with his workmates but eventually they had to disband the team as people were starting to get quite badly injured and their work-based friendships were beginning to be sorely tested. It was too competitive and had started to turn nasty.
What IS it about football? I mean you don’t see bowls players shouting, “Right Robbie, you’re a poof if you don’t get that lie”
Scrabble players don’t heckle someone “Ha! You missed out on that Bingo, ye Donkey!”
Golfers hardly ever casually shout the word “C**T!” at one another as one chips in a jammy shot right onto the green from a bunker.
And then in the professional football sphere, it doesn’t get much better. It is de rigeur for footballers to verbally abuse one another on and off the park. You just don’t hear it much in big games because they are drowned out by the noise of the spectators hurling abuse and singing sweary made up songs to the tunes of popular chart hits.
One of the things I remember about my childhood in Clydebank was my late Papa taking me and my brother to watch Clydebank play at home. Being a small team with a small crowd, you could hear the players screaming at one another. My Papa was a little dismayed that instead of being all fired up about the game, the only thing me and my brother could talk about on the way home was how the players were constantly swearing and shouting at one another. I can’t remember exactly everything that was said, but when I delve deep in my subconscious there is the phrase,
“If you cannae get that penalty, that makes ye a poof, right?”
* Haven't had a shouldery in YEARS. It's my top recommedation of the week- go on, get someone to give you one this weekend. Or at the very least a coalie bag. In fact, invite two mates and have a joust on coalie bags. You'll thank me (from your hospital beds...)
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