Here in England, we’re on the cusp of the football season coming back and beating its way to a hasty conclusion. In our time apart, it’s given me a bit of time to think about my relationship with sport, and more specifically the culture that surrounds it. The big realisation I’ve made is that there’s is a big chunk of sport culture that I really just don’t like being around.
I wasn’t a sports kid growing up, I only really found my passion for it as an adult. And even then, most of my enjoyment of it comes from the event itself, watching the sport and also having an excuse to see some friends and family leading up to the game itself. One thing I’ve never been able to abide by though is the culture that surrounds it.
Upon a single article popping up on social media regarding fixtures, the comments were immediately filled with examples of “banter”, the pointless jabbing and general toxicity over something so unimportant. I don’t think I need it in my life right now.
These past couple of weeks have been rough, rougher than the months that have proceeded them. The protests that have been taking place around the world, a result of the murder of George Floyld has been harrowing to watch, compounded by the Pandemic that’s already been going on on top of that.
Every time I’ve opened a social media app these past few days, I’ve found myself immediately regretting it. Every morning, I’m greeted with some new example of the absolute worst of humanity; peaceful protesters being treated like enemy combatants in a warzone. It’s disgusting, depressing and I don’t know why I keep digging deeper and deeper every time I see a tweet about something new.
The world sucks right now, made all the worse by our inability to do anything good to enjoy life. Stuck at home, on our own, unable to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
One of these pleasures, one many people have been desperate to see come back has been sport. Specifically the Premiership here in England. Yet, as soon as I see a news outlet tweeting about the title race again, making the perfectly factual statement that Liverpool are 25 points clear and it’d be very difficult for them to throw it away at this point, the whole thing is soured by inevitable banter that surrounds it.
One of the biggest problems with social media is that there is zero subtext to any form of communication. You’ve to take everything at face value. So as much as these people insulting one another, trolling one another or being utterly delusional about simple facts is “banter”, it’s hard to take it that way right now.
It feels like there’s not much to be positive about in the world these days, and seeing nothing but people arguing online, as good natured as it may or may not be, isn’t doing my mental health any favours.
I’ll put my hands up and say, based on my experiences as a football fan; I’ve come to have a instinctual distaste for Liverpool fans. Not all Liverpool fans mind you, but the more negative aspects of the fanbase all seem to carry themselves with this same chip on their shoulder and constantly dragging up the past. They’re 25 points clear for Christ’s sake and they’re still acting like the world is out to get them.
But what may have become just as bad as the persecution complex segment of the Liverpool fanbase is the anti-Liverpool crowd that’s exploded in size this season. As a team and a club I have zero issue with them, they’re a great squad with a charismatic manager. But that doesn’t stop the petty, mindless idiots online talking baseless nonsense about them. Thus we’ve got two factions having the most pointless, idiotic “debate” I’ve ever had the misfortune to read.
And it all feels so small and petty. Now more than it maybe ever has before to me. Who fucking cares about that when people are getting treated like cattle, getting gassed, blinded or even dying over something as easy to figure out as as racism being bad.
I get the distinct impression that a lot of the people around me couldn’t give a shit. And I just don’t have the time for it anymore. I should be happy that sport is coming back, that there is something to look forward to again, to connect to people over. But right now, I don’t have the energy for it. It feels like its just bringing more negativity than positivity into my world and I just don’t want it. It just doesn’t feel important in the grand scheme of things whatsoever.
Hopefully, once the games get into swing again, I’ll remember why I enjoyed it so much in the first place and I can put the relentless negativity behind me.