This letter was written by Richard. The poor chap does his best to avoid the football coverage and despite his best efforts, it seems to get the better of him. Published here in it’s entirety, he makes some important points that I think we can all relate to.
One thing that really annoys me about the grand final is that it is not the grand final. It is not the last final. There will be another one next year unless the sun dies or we are invaded by aliens. I have fantasies about arming the players with knives and guns and some small modifications to the rules so that it truly becomes a grand final but I know that next year more “players” would fill the places of the thankfully departed.
The grand final for me brings two pleasures to my football loathing life. Whilst they are to an extent offset by the near frenzy of the media in a sporting feeding frenzy leading up to the event, I do look forward to it.
First of all I know that there will soon be a lessening of the saturation media and conversation coverage that prevails for so much of the year. The frenzy of the media coverage seems like the old Maxwell Smart “cone of stupidity” where everything said was jumbled up and incomprehensible seemingly to those participating but doubly so to everyone else.
After the (wishfully) grand final there will still be a small feeling of relief that however small and however brief it is still most welcome.
However the greatest enjoyment for me comes from trying to stay ignorant of the outcome for as long as possible. This is where the real contest lies. Any fool can and usually does watch or listen to the game. It takes real skill to remain conscious and avoid learning of the result.
Considering the way the (how I wish) grand final invades our cultural psyche, this is truly a difficult and worthy task. Even more difficult is being honest and admitting that I have at some stage failed because I foolishly glimpsed the front of a newspaper or listened to a news bulletin or saw some idiots scarf flapping out the window of a car. The fact that I can associate some dreadful colour combination on a piece of material as belonging to a particular club is a sorry indictment of the power of advertising we are subjected and subject to. That even I could be forced, nay, inculcated, to recognise football colours is appalling.
I do not want to sound like I am obsessing but I have come up with simple strategies such as not reading a paper for a few days, no glancing at newsagents, no watching TV or driving a car for at least 12 hours after the game, that help me in my quest for blissful ignorance.
How have I done? To date and with 15 years of effort, my worst result has been 3 hours and my best has been 36 hours.
My hope is that in sharing this I can raise awareness of some of the only true pleasures that “footy” can bring and that each year there are opportunities that are available for all to grasp.