I FEEL terrible and I want to care, but when it comes to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, I just don’t.
It’s the biggest sporting event in the world, billions worldwide will be watching, and it only happens every four years. I know all this.
Still, I’d rather watch a replay of the Collingwood versus Carlton game from 1972.
Don’t bother looking it up, that’s not a particularly special game. It’s not a final, and I don’t even like either of those teams.
Other things I’d rather do include watching MasterChef after being told who’s won, selling child sponsorships on the street and watching a blank screen. Seriously.
During a final of the 2010 World Cup, my television stopped working, and while staring at the blank screen and contemplating what pizza I was going order for home delivery, I realised I was enjoying myself more than watching the actual game.
It’s not that I haven’t had a go. Last World Cup I actually set my alarm, woke up at stupid o’clock, went around to a friend’s house and tried to watch one of Australia’s games in a room full of rowdy and drunk soccer fans. I fell asleep.
In 2006 my Dad and I watched most of the games. For seldom longer than five minutes, before changing the channel to reruns of M*A*S*H.
So many people I know are so very excited about the World Cup, and I understand why. Every moment on the morning and nightly news, I’m being told that the whole world is very excited and it’s all very exciting.
It seems that with soccer, all the excitement comes in the form of anticipation, and nobody seems that bothered about the actual games. Because they’re not at all exciting.
Worst of all, I really want to be excited. I was picked on for years at high school, so I know what it feels like to be on the outer, but I just can’t stand it.
Far less than not caring, I actively dislike soccer. I think it’s after so many round ball disappointments, I’ve developed some sort of programmed response, so whenever I hear ‘World Cup’ I just feel repulsed.
Phrases with the same effect on me include: ‘Lara Bingle’, ‘we’re out of fried chicken’, ‘insufficient funds’, ‘no more drinks’ and ‘Ben Affleck will be the next Batman’.
Also, don’t forget that FIFA is a corrupt organisation, full of self-important wankers.
‘No, we did not take any bribes,’ the FIFA officials told the world, and promptly awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Then got into their brand new gold-plated cars, to drive off to their diamond encrusted castles in the sky, where they whiled away the afternoon throwing sapphire sticks for their ruby dogs.
Then there is just so much to dislike about the game itself.
I mean, use your hands. Opposable thumbs were one of the main reasons we evolved into humans, along with our brains, so how can a game be called skilful and beautiful if the players refuse to use either?
I’ve been reared on AFL and NRL. Where blokes routinely get their heads knocked off, only to calmly put them back on and continue.
Okay maybe not, but players are often concussed, and refuse to leave the field. They break bones and wreck knees, then limp to the bench. While soccer players are hit in the cheek by a particularly strong breeze, and fall to the ground like they’ve been shot. With an elephant gun.
World Cup play is often extremely defensive, as everyone is terrified of losing, thus rendering it even more unwatchable.
f I wanted to witness a bunch of overpaid airheads obsessed with themselves nonchalantly kicking around a ball for 90 minutes, I’d give the Real Housewives of Melbourne a tennis ball, and tell them there was a diamond inside.
Also, it’s the referee who decides when the game ends using his wristwatch. Yep. The biggest sporting event in the world, and nobody can afford to pay a separate timekeeper.
One thing I dislike even more than soccer are people who complain about something without offering a solution.
So here’s how to make the World Cup more watchable: get rid of the offside rule, allow tackling with arms, and let everyone use their hands. Done.
Okay, now to fix the Winter Olympics. Tip one: make every event ice hockey and replace the puck with Joe Hockey.
This article first appeared on news.com.au:
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.