how they love the sporting life

I’m not a sportsman. I have never pretended to be, and I definitely not going to start now. When I say that I’m not a sportman, I don’t just mean that I’m bad at sports; I rarely do any physical exercise. I’m a big supporter of lifts and escalators, and my knowledge of gyms mainly comes from watching films. However, I have joined a football (or soccer, depending which country you’re reading this) team with some friends, and we had our first game last Sunday. This was our first ever game. Not just for the season, but ever. Only a few of the others had trained together, and this was going to be the second time in three years I’ve done any form of phsical exertion. This was Sunday, so the day after Halloween. Every single member of our team was hung over and had minimal sleep. During warm-up, our centre-half threw up nine times. Before coming onto the pitch, half of our team were smoking cigarettes. Then the opponents turned up: a squad of seventeen, wearing matching kit, each being taller and bigger than the last one, and they definitely didn’t look hung over. We lost 15-0.

there’s my father looking on
and my girlfriend arm
in arm
with the captain of the ot
her team
and all of this is clear t
o me
they condescend and
fix on me a frown
how they love
the sporting life

As I said earlier, I am not a sportsman, so I actually found the ordeal to be quite funny, even though I didn’t let our captain know just how funny I thought it was. At least Colin Meloy can also find the funny side in ‘The Sporting Life’, although whilst he tries to ‘fight the tears’, I was wondering how to look lackadaisical to supporters, yet committed to my team. My muscles still ache, although my pride is fine.


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