Patience is more of a necessity than a virtue

21 11 2012

I try not to boast but I am good at waiting. I can wait in any line without complaint, even if the person at the counter is taking forever to pay for something I won’t complain, I won’t even mutter under my breath. I can wait anywhere, at any time. What’s that? You want me to wait all night in Charles de Gaulle airport for a flight to Helsinki with only my thoughts for company? No problem! I can wait for anything me.

I suppose I’m good at waiting because I’m a calm person. I’m such a calm person that I remain calm in most situations. I remain calm when people push past me, I remain calm when people try to get on a train as I’m getting off, I remain calm when I see Jack Whitehall and Claudia Winkleman on TV or when I hear Fern Cotton and Chris Moyles on the radio. I take everything in my stride.

I remain calm even when my fucking train is half an hour late for the third fucking week in a row. I remain calm when I’m enjoying a drink and a packet of nuts in a pub and three nearby fuckers start indulging in “the banter” at the top of their fucking voices as though they’re the centre of the fucking universe…..ahem …… I retain an inscrutable air of calm even when the clichéd phrase “If Mancini can’t see that Tevez is more of a false number 8 well I ask you, what kind of manager is he?” enters their irritating discourse. I find that remaining calm helps most situations, it certainly helped when I was Chelsea’s manager for 3 and a half days.

An idea struck me as I was travelling home from a match the other week; I’m a calm and patient person because of football. The fluid nature of football matches turns them into constantly shifting stories, matches are so fluid that a second or three of skill can totally transform their course. Almost anything is possible within the rules of football, one minute you could be losing 3-0, the next you could be losing 3-1 or 4-0. One learns to adapt to an ever-changing situation and move on. In short the nature of football teaches you treat the twin imposters of success and failure as two untrustworthy scallies.

Needless to say I remain calm during the trying moments of matches. I stay calm when my side concedes a first minute goal. I stay calm when they concede three first half goals. I even stay calm when a fucking incompetent referee sends off two Bangor players simply because he is an anti-social fucker, an utterly useless fucker, a completely short-sighted fucking twat…..ahem…………… I stay calm, calm, serene and hopeful.

I didn’t always take this approach. Once upon a time I watched TV and wanted to be part of the gesticulating hordes. I dug the style of the arm wavers, I thought the gesturing Italians, all parkas, scarves and attitude, looked great. I wanted to rant and rave so much.

Thankfully I’ve matured a bit; nowadays I try to avoid the ranters and ravers. They not only give me a headache, the din at XXX XXX XXXXXX earlier this season was hellish, they can look a little unhinged as well. I remember when a bloke stomped from behind the goal to the side of the pitch so he could berate a linesman. From one perspective there was a certain comedic anticipation about the bloke’s steady progress towards the linesman; we waited expectantly for an expletive -laden confrontation. From another point of view the behaviour looked a bit unhinged.

There is an altogether simpler reason why I try to retain an air of calm when I’m watching matches; events happen in spite of fans’ actions. Take the howling at XXX XXX XXXXXX. After about half an hour it was obvious that it wasn’t going to be Bangor’s day yet the howling continued. The howling didn’t help anyone or solve anything.  After I realised that things happen anyway another realisation quickly followed; there isn’t much point in getting annoyed about stuff I can’t do anything about.

Call me odd if you wish but I want to enjoy watching football. I can’t stand watching football in a cloud of stress and a crowd of angry stressed people makes me stressed. Unfortunately the media seem intent on creating stressed football fans.

The other week Liverpool played Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow. Two things can be said about the match. 1) Liverpool lost 1-0 and, 2) Liverpool dominated the match with a weakened team. This is how the BBC reported the events of the match a few minutes after it ended;

“Liverpool’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Europa League hang in the balance after losing to Guus Hiddink’s Anzhi Makhachkala…………………….. On the face of it, this was another disappointing defeat for Liverpool, who slip off the top of the group blah, blah, blah.”

They took the same approach the day after;

“Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has defended his decision to leave several senior players in England after his side lost 1-0 to Anzhi Makhachkala………..With two matches remaining in the group stage – at home to Swiss side Young Boys and away to Italians Udinese – Liverpool, who are joint second in Group A, still have much to do to ensure qualification for the last 32”

It was odd that the journalist opted for the stress causing approach as he included an admission from Guus Hiddink ; “They (Liverpool) controlled the game and tested us but that makes me happy with this result.”   It was also odd that the journalist didn’t seem to be aware of  UEFA’s Europa League procedures either; Liverpool will advance if both Liverpool and Anzhi win their next group matches. Why did the journalist dismiss reality in favour of sensationalism? Why does a journalist feel the need to act like this?

The media’s version of football generally doesn’t feature patient people. They probably think that we don’t matter because we “obviously don’t care”. Well media types not being demonstrably dramatic enough to feature in ”FOOTBALL IS THE BEST FOOTBALL THING IN THE WORLD EVER” adverts is not enough of a reason for disregarding us.

Patient people matter and patient people care. We care a lot about football, we care whether our side wins. Prick us, do we not bleed? When our sides lose important matches do we not feel down? Do not our thoughts become polluted by failed possibilities for a couple of days after the fateful defeat? Media types, remove your expensive sunglasses! You need to notice that a lot of football fans are calm people. Darlings, your view is just too narrow.

Anyway enough of the moaning, I’ll leave you with a final example of how football has helped me to develop a calmer approach for 21st century living. About a month ago I saw the new Amazon advert. Amazon opted for the “Look at us, we’re absolutely fantastic!!!” approach by using a load of “aspirational” bullshit;

“We’re the people with the smile on the box. We’re the re-inventors of normal. We dream of making things that change your life, then disappear into your everyday. And when we build you something new, you can expect everything to change a little more. Look around. What once seemed wildly impractical is now completely normal. And “normal” just begs to be messed with.”

I should have booted my TV’s screen in but I didn’t, my ingrained calmness took over. Thanks to my ingrained calmness I have been able to watch this vacuous load of asinine lameness, this grotesque piece of PR cuntery, at every fucking commercial break without wanting to boot my TV screen in. Thank god football has inculcated a sense of calm in my soul!

My ingrained calmness is great! It allows me to find out what Amazon think  – “Customers continue to choose Kindle because they love the world-class reading experience” – and not want to punch a wall. It allows me to picture somebody actually uttering the words “World class reading experience” without shouting obscenities at passing strangers.

My ingrained calmness allows me to think of questions like “What’s wrong with a “Normal reading experience” ?  and “What exactly is a “World class reading experience”?  It allows me to wonder whether the Kindle is a profound statement upon our decadent age, or simply the most needless piece of consumerist rubbish ever conceived. Silly me, I thought books were easily portable.

Mind you my ingrained calmness only stretches so far. If I start to think about Amazon ‘s smug arrogance about their ability to “subvert normality” I’m almost at a tipping point. If Amazon’s viewpoint became society’s viewpoint our town and city centres would be replaced by robot-controlled warehouses. There would be no such thing as bumping in to casual acquaintances, or making impromptu plans, in urban areas as these ideas would become outdated concepts.  If Amazon had their way we wouldn’t leave our homes, all we would do is permanently order stuff from the internet like consumerist worms. Fuck you Amazon.

Now that I’ve typed this, my ingrained calmness has kicked in again. I’m calm again, calm enough to enjoy more football.



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