Football - Not a Waste of Time

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“If a story doesn’t come out of this I’ve wasted a whole day,” I said to Todd as we spent the afternoon watching the European Football Championship and drinking Stella Artois chilled to perfection wearing England soccer jersey’s our friend hands out on arrival.

We were there to support our friend Jeremy, an England fan fanatic even though Todd and I could care less for team sports.

The distraction was a justifiable excuse. I was helping a friend. If I were home I’d be sitting in front of my computer wracking my head for sentences as if I were doing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. Writer’s block would be met with self-loathing, for I was wasting time. My time worried about time wasted is extravagant. If only I’d win an award for it already. I often ask what’s the difference is between someone who is published and one who hasn’t? Surrender. It doesn’t have to be good just get to the finish line. Perfection is the enemy of good or done or whatever.

Anyway, it turns out our attendance at a soccer match played on a widescreen tv on a Tuesday afternoon brought Jeremy good luck. England scored two goals to Germany’s zero. It’s thrilling to see a group of people go bat shit crazy with happiness when their team wins. Spray from the fan's shaken beer cans rivals fourth of July fireworks. It’s as if the Gold Cup was handed out to each of them. When England scored a goal, Jeremy flung himself on us with hugs and bounced up and down. His face red went red with triumph, another beer was cracked and toasted to good fortune and the Brits for finally moving the ball forward.

At one point I turned to Todd and said the forbidden words, “If a story doesn’t come out of this I’ve wasted a whole day.” He addressed my remark with an eye roll that is short for live in the moment Beth. It wasn’t enough that I learned a lot about soccer in a short amount of time and actually enjoy being a spectator, that I got to spend a day with friends, eating and laughing, I felt guilty for another seemingly unproductive day. I even had meaningful conversation during half time, since there is no half time show in football and no million dollar commercials. It’s ninety minutes of straight forward strategic play and the opponents pat each other on the back and help one another up when trampled. Fans aren’t so civilized. They will camp out in front of their rival team’s hotel and revel all night so the team won’t get a good night sleep. They are shirtless, face painted slobs with murder in their eyes when losing and happy drunkards when wining. Everyone in the stands were like rowdy teenagers except Kate Middleton and Prince William who gave nothing more than a polite smile on England’s success. Even I couldn’t help sitting on the edge of my seat and jumping up when centrifugal force of a kick or header spins the ball on its axis passing outstretched arms and lodges itself into the net.

Truly I did not intend for a story to come out of the day, it was really a poor inside joke with myself. Yes I wrote about it but as confirmation that it was not a waste of time, for I lived it. Next time I’ll turn to Todd and merely ask when is the next match and what time does it start?

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