Football, it’s a bit like marmite really!


Hi, my name is Andrew, I am male, and I don’t like football!

There… I said it.

I have absolutely zero interest, much to the delight of my wife, even the world cup only gets me mildly interested, and even then only on a patriotic level. I’ve always thought that the sport had lost its way a long time ago. In my opinion, the likes of Birmingham City should actually be Birmingham showing off its finest talent, not a bunch of the most expensive players from all four corners of the planet. How is that reflective of what Birmingham has to offer? I know I won’t be alone when it comes to the great debate of how much these players earn either, I think we’re all of the opinion that they earn far, far too much! The sport has become a business now, and from an outsiders point of view, to me this makes it look almost soulless.

As a young boy there is no avoiding getting involved with it, you will end up playing the game with friends at some point no matter how useless you are! Soon your friends may begin to notice your obvious lack of talent and stop asking you to be on their team quite so frequently, or you may just take it upon yourself to avoid certain obvious opportunities on the playground to be asked, especially when you get tired of trying to kick the ball and miss, or worse still fire it onto a roof so no-one can play any more, and you can feel about 20 pairs of eyes burning down on you!

Eventually we grow up, and some people continue playing football as a way to keep fit doing something they enjoy, whereas others may just sit at home watching it on the tv, maybe at the pub, or the more enthusiastic followers may even buy a season ticket and go and watch a match if they have nothing better to do with their hard earned cash than donate it to these overpaid football players. It still never fails to amaze me though, how emotional people become about the game, and how every football supporter is suddenly an absolute expert on their team, on the poor decisions of their manager, and how the players could have done so much better! Its this banter that makes a non-football fan almost feel like they are alone in a foreign country where nobody speaks your language!

I really started to notice this at work recently, where I am surrounded by colleagues who love the sport, they watch it all the time, go to matches, and a handful of them even play it before work each day, and when I listen to some of them talking, it seems to be all they talk about. I do sometimes wonder what other conversations they actually have and how you strike up a conversation with them if it’s not football related. When I’m talking to someone, sometimes I can sense when that inevitable question is coming, and I can see that all too common look of bewilderment and confusion on their face when they ask me what team I support, only for me to reply with “none of them… football’s not my thing”. The idea that I’d rather watch Formula 1 than 22 over paid drama queens kick a ball about has people baffled, it clearly the answer they weren’t expecting! To which their response is invariably always “oh…” followed by a pause while their brain tries to work out what else to talk about as an alternative.

I sometimes think it would be nice to have had a bit more of an interest in football, as it really does seem to exclude you from a significant percentage of workplace conversations, but I just can’t seem to generate any excitement about it at all. I wonder why others are so passionate and I quite simply couldn’t care less, and when I look back can only deduce that this all comes from my upbringing, I don’t remember my dad, or either of my grandads being that interested in football. I don’t remember it ever being on the tv much, if at all. In fact the only time it really featured on the tv in our house was when my stepdad used to watch the final results coming in on a Saturday afternoon, even though we never actually watched any of the matches. Even the kids I played with on our estate never used to really be into it either, and so I just grew up without it in my life.

To the regular ready (if I have any besides the wife!) this may all seem like a somewhat irrelevant post, and I guess in a way it is, I’m sure no-one is actually reading this for my thoughts on football but its kind of led me to thinking about the wife and myself, and how what we are doing now will affect Olivia when she’s older, the kind of things we probably don’t even think about. She is approaching a very susceptible age where she will constantly be learning, and is going to literally be taking everything in around her, all she can see and here, and I am becoming conscious of what we’re saying and doing around her, such as not using our phones all the time in front of her, not over-reacting when she falls, the kind of language we use in front of her, trying not to be grumpy even when we’re tired (because she’s had one or both of us up numerous times during the night) and various other scenarios. There are no doubt a gazillion books out there with many different opinions on what we should be doing (maybe I should write one myself?!), but we’ve just winged it so far, trying to be relaxed and using a common sense and practical approach, and it seems to have worked for us so far. My only little concern is the favouritism our little girl has for daddy, sometimes mommy just isn’t good enough! It does make me feel a little guilty when she’ll only come to me, although thankfully she seems to be showing a bit less of this behaviour lately. It does sometimes help though, that I can seem to settle her quickly in the middle of the night if she has woken up, and can then send the wife back off to bed as she seems to need more sleep than me. Its nothing magical that I am doing, I certainly have no more parenting skills than the wife, but there is still that moment when Olivia is being held by her mother and then spots me and doesn’t want mommy any more. Its not like we actually encourage it, but we do give in to it sometimes, as I am kinda figuring that this may be a temporary thing anyway. Eventually, as she gets older, I am sure that Olivia will come to see that there are some things that daddy is just no good at, and only a mommy can help with! Or have we set something in motion that may never change? Do little girls never outgrow cuddles from their daddy?

Talking about growing up, this last week we have seen some of the biggest changes. The walking, as I mentioned in the last post, is significant, and she has almost totally given up on crawling over the last few days, she’s just too cool for that shizzle now, she’s a big girl don’t you know! The weekend was the big turning point for this, and she has just not stopped walking since. The other change, which has been slower and more subtle, is the one of feeding herself. We have occasionally struggled over the last months to feed Olivia on some days, and still do… but on some of those difficult days, we have found that all she wanted to do was feed herself. This was great when it was finger foods, we could just leave her to it, regardless of how long it took or how cold the food got, but the likes of pasta and other foods with a sauce are a different matter, and we had to be prepared for a major clean up operation if we let her have a go with any of these foods. Recently this has moved up a gear, and she is loving the cutlery, not only feeding herself with a fork, but also using a spoon to feed herself yoghurt whilst holding the pot at the same time!

So what’s next? What big changes lie ahead, and how will she surprise us next? This parenting game is fun and a total nightmare, all at the same time! Its no wonder the grey in my hair is rapidly accelerating and replacing all the coloured stuff!

For blog updates follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/andrewvokes

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About andrewvokes

Husband to my beautiful wife Clare, and father to two gorgeous girls. Cyclist, runner and photographer, living in Birmingham, UK.

Posted on January 21, 2015, in Personal, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. It’s an adventure for sure! Sometimes I feel like the last four years have gone past in a flash; other times it feels like my previous life was a whole lifetime ago! Well.. it *is* a whole lifetime for our wee boy. I also have no interest in football, probably because my life was full of swimming, karate, rock-climbing, camping, etc etc. I’m utterly grateful and indebted to my parents for giving me all these opportunities and encouragement, without ever making me feel I would let them down if I decided to do anything else. I wish I could have told them how much I appreciated it before they passed away.

    Liked by 1 person

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