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Escapism

Auckland City 0, Waitakere United 0
Croatian Cultural Society, Auckland, September 27 2014

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The greatest joy of football is the magical escapism it provides. Whether you are at a game singing along with the crowd or cheering your team on from the couch, there’s no better way to forget all your troubles and join another world.

A world where, for example, the political party you have dedicated the last 16 years of your life to has not just taken its worst electoral hiding in 90 years, where the leader you supported and campaigned for to win the role is not currently getting mercilessly attacked, beaten, and left for dead, and where your day job is not under direct attack by the freshly re-elected government.

One of football’s most endearing traits is its utter pointlessness. The only thing that is ever really at stake is a verdict on which is the best team out of the two random sides that happen to be playing each other at any given moment. A lasting judgement that will endure until the next time the same two sides happen to play each other again, which will probably be in a couple of weeks or so.

Ok, so that’s not quite true. Sometimes it is about who is the best team in a given league, and that verdict will have a much longer shelf life – roughly similar to the life span of a lettuce plant.

The point is no children will starve depending on the outcome of any football game, ever. No institutions will have their funding cut. No state assets will be sold. Taxes will stay the same. House prices will not change. The world will continue exactly as it had been before the game kicked off.

This is never more true than when the game you are attending is an ASB Premiership pre-season friendly. Utterly meaningless. There are literally real live dung beetles walking the earth right now that have vastly more significance to humanity than a game like this. That is why it was the perfect post-election activity for me to drag my depressed carcass along to. I could cruise along, blend into the background, watch a few grown men kick a ball around, and practice my photography in quiet contemplation – a Zen like state, if you will, of utter relaxation and relief from the outside world. This is football serving its finest purpose in life. It may be insignificant, but that doesn’t mean it’s not vitally important.

As I passed through the gates of the Croatian Cultural Society on Saturday, with my camera and my monopod, I felt in the best mood I had been in for weeks. I took a deep breath of the fresh West Auckland air, trotted over to the field and checked the location of the sun to ascertain the best place to stand. Behind the Waitakere United goal it was. From there I could watch the oncoming attack of some of the stars of the New Zealand domestic game from the best possible vantage point. A great calm washed over me. This was where I belonged today. In a place where party politics don’t exist.

Then I heard a great booming voice with a thick Derby accent cry out at full volume. It was the Waitakere United goalkeeper Danny Robinson: “ENZO!!!! I SAW YOU ON THE TELLY MATE!!!! LABOUR PARTY!!!! TOUGH DAY…”

Heh. So much for that theory!

Categories: NZ Men's National League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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