Welcome to the Absurdist

Thursday 26 August 2010

Scottish Football News is a Breath of Fresh Air

I am not a sports fan. Though I do like Wimbledon, the Olympics, World Cup football and Dancing on Ice. My pulse does not, however, start racing at the thought of a mid November fixture between Albion Thistle and "the Rovers", (as I believe they are called).

This morning however, as I sat de-fuzzing my felt Cath Kidston door stop, I did wonder if perhaps my life was becoming a little too cosy. So I decided to break out of my comfortable ...er...comfort zone and what better way to begin than by immersing myself in the world of Sport?

I therefore turned to the unopened and freshly ironed copy of The Scotsman by my side and decided, right there and then, that I would, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, read the back pages first.

And so I read the 8 pages of footballing information. I will not call it news, for I fear that is a misnomer implying as it does reports of matches, scores, end to end stuff, near misses, things that had actually happened and the like.

But no. Rather football fans apparently wish to read stories about why some people think they would like to play football somewhere else; or what some people might do in certain matches that might not happen; or why some things that some people have said are not fair and really quite annoying.

In that sense it is very like political reporting. You know, where Peter Mandelson tells everyone what has just happened and what to think like the way the characters do in Mistresses. ANYWAY, I was a little disappointed at the lack of results and facts related to events in the past but in other respects I found I liked it very much.

I liked the headlines, which are poetic and rather mysterious, like the titles of short stories by Saul Bellow or Philip Roth: "MacDonald Ponders"; "Hooiveld Finds No Room For Sentiment"; or, "Baudelaire's Misfortune is A Boost for Proust". (Okay, I made that last one up.)

Some read like briefings from the Pentagon, "Roberston adamant United can oust AEK amid chaotic backdrop" or "Yemeni forces demand answers from Jambo's Oligarchs" (Okay, I made that one up as well.) I also liked all the foreign names, which are exotic and occasionally quite amusing, like 'Crouch'.

Some headlines though, I found downright impenetrable:

"Du Chatinier says pressure all on Scotrs". It does actually say"Scotrs". Is this a typo? Or is it a real footballing phenomenon? I imagine it is a cross between 'Scots' and 'snotters'.

Others read as if they are perhaps incomplete:

"Robinho wants away" ... early the night cos it's macaroni fur tea?

However, my absolute favourite was the collection of positively uplifting thoughts brought forth from the mouth of one Mr Craig Levein, who I believe now holds a managerial position in relation to the Scottish national embarrassment, er, sorry, squad.

The candour of Mr Levein in discussing the selection of the squad in advance of an upcoming European double-header (note footballing lingo) is an absolute breath of fresh air.I wish to point out that I have NOT made any of this up:

  • "I cannot afford to look in detail at who speaks in a Scottish accent and who has a Saltire hanging from their bedroom window." (Well indeed, who can in this day and age?)

  • "I pick the guys who are not going to be caught in the headlights, who are not going to go into their shells." (So he mixes a few metaphors, chill down will ya?)

  • "I want to win them both, I think we are capable. But we are capable of losing both, It's football." (The key word here is 'capable', let's just focus on that.)

  • "I am still getting a handle myself on what this is all about." (Okay, starting to get a bit worried now.)

  • "I picked a group of players for the last game, half of whom did not turn up." (Don't know about youse, but I'm fair bursting with pride here.)

  • "So I thought, I'll throw some young boys in and hopefully we can get something out of it." (Let's just admire the candour shall we? I'll admit the strategy may need work.)

Simply Marvellous. Though I do wonder whether he realised that there were other people in the room who could hear him.

Anyway, it was all very fascinating and finally, you will be pleased to know that Lithuania believe they can cause upset. But then so can I, especially after a tin of pea and ham soup. Still that's a (non) story for another day.