I hate football.
There I said it.
There’s something liberating about the admission that as an Australian I have a very strong dislike toward most sports.
As the NRL Grandfinal dawns upon us I am left with the exciting realization that I previously purchased tickets to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and will be nowhere near a television, projector, or any other device screening the game this Sunday afternoon.
Or Mehallelujah (as seems more appropriate).
I am a free woman.
I don’t need to be a footy fan to know how this will go down. There’ll be a healthy amount of interstate rivalry and of course every Tom, Dick and Harry will revel in the unity against every Ahmed, Mohamed and Mustafa.
Everybody will unite… against the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Make no mistake, this isn’t only about football, it’s about Australia’s two favourite capital cities competing for validation in the eyes of the proletariat.
I may not be a fan but that’s not to say I know nothing about the game. I get the rules and at one stage I even owned merchandise. But I ceased feigning interest in the game after I left high school.
I pretended to be a Cronulla supporter for 6 years.
Can you imagine how that’d go down post riots of 2005?
Exit stage left.
I was a Cronulla supporter for one reason and one reason only.
Ok it was two reasons.
When I was eight I was at a Sharks match where they were giving out free blow up hammers. I kept this hammer for the next 10 years and brought it out anytime somebody questioned my loyalty to the game… which was never.
My love of the sharks was solidified by my desire to impress my high school crush. Conveniently he too was a Shark’s supporter.
Imagine the pain of having to feign interest in a team whose paraphernalia I couldn’t flaunt?
My street cred increased 10 fold when my uncle was named CEO of an NRL team – a team that throughout my period of phony obsession hardly won a game. Win or lose, as CEO you still get to take your nieces and nephews to hang out with the players.
Nobody had to know that I would actually stay at home, eat cake and read John Marsden instead of going along to any of these exclusive rendezvous. Then on Monday when I got to school I would retell the stories my siblings had told me and people would believe me because my uncle was on TV a lot, saying things CEO’s say about football clubs.
But my uncle isn’t CEO anymore, I’m not in high school anymore and I no longer have to pretend to care.