Cultural awakenings

My television viewing habits have taken on a double life recently, as if to confuse me when I suddenly form opinions on things I didn’t know I cared about – like sports.

Normally, days in our house are spent discussing the latest vajazzle on Tallafornia or Holly’s latest victim on Geordie Shore, but lately we’ve taken to having serious chats about how long Brian O’ Driscoll has left playing international rugby, or what a joke it is that Liverpool paid £30 million for Andy Carroll. The turnaround in topics of conversation over the last few weeks has nearly given me whiplash at times.

It all started with the Six Nations on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a good excuse to wear green, do a bit of Grade A creeping, and be patriotic without having to do too much work. All of a sudden, we started watching rugby matches that Ireland weren’t even playing in.

We learnt a few things from this exercise: a) Every team in the Six Nations has a player who resembles a ‘Fat Jesus’ and b) The French team are awfully soft- sure Paul O’Connell had no problem playing among the glaciers that had settled around the field on what Ryle Nugent dubbed “a dark dark day for the Six Nations”. You’d swear someone had died or something.

The let-down we experienced once the French game had been called off should have signalled alarm bells in my head. What did we care if they played or not? I was only watching in the hopes that Tommy Bowe would have the jersey ripped off him. Oh no, we were going down a very slippery slope here. We were getting invested in the team. We had spent our afternoons watching these boys shove their heads up each others arses (that’s what it looks like from our angle anyway) and we wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than a win now, even if it meant getting up off the couch and shouting at the TV. We were in deep.

Then, we branched out. Maybe it was time to see other people play different sports? Conveniently enough, the Carling Cup final was being played that weekend and judging by the hype on Facebook and Twitter, this was one to watch. Before the match, it was impossible not to get caught up in the emotion of the day. Liverpool hadn’t won a trophy in six years? That’s so sad for all those old-timers on the team. But Cardiff had paved out such a hard road to the final? Well, that must mean that deserve to win. One thing’s for certain, I would make a useless commentator.

We got completely swept up in the match. We went from calling the players by names we’d given them based on their personal appearance, like ‘Your man with the ponytail’, ‘The one with the goofy smile’ and ‘The dish’ (and yes, I know I’m the only 21 year old who calls handsome men ‘dishy’… or handsome for that matter) to becoming full-blown aficionados on the sport, the clubs and the players themselves.

Just as we had transformed ourselves into dignified rugby spectators, we were now finding ourselves becoming the stereotypical rowdy soccer fans. By the end of the penalties, our nerves were shot and we wondered how people waste whole days on games that mightn’t even produce one goal?

Somehow, we keep getting more and more drawn in by these sporting weekends. It’s a great excuse to sit on the couch, have a few drinks and pretend to be soaking up some culture and showing some “pride in your jersey”. I even started to care when Rory McIlroy was named golf’s world number one – who in their right mind even cares about golf?

This newfound expertise on the world of sport may last more than one season – but something tells me that this is just a fleeting interest designed to give me an almost valid excuse not to do my thesis.  Procrastination is a cruel and clever being.

Laura Cronin

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