26 September, 2014

One day in September

This Saturday is Grand Final day in Melbourne. The Grand Final is championship game of the Australian (formerly Victorian) Football League and winning it is the ultimate achievement in Australian Rules Football. For my international readers (both of you – and yes, I am going to use that lame joke every time), it’s the equivalent of the FA Cup or the Superbowl, including all the ridiculous pageantry. It is a really, REALLY big deal.

If you’re into that kind of thing.

I’m not.

It’s terribly un-Australian of me but I do not like football. I didn’t like playing it when I was forced to in primary school, I do not like watching it, I do not like hearing about it.
I. Do. Not. Like. Football.

Now this is not to say that I begrudge other people liking it. I used to, back when people who liked football begrudged the kinds of things I liked, such as music and poetry and that kind of shit, but I’ve grown up a lot since then. I am not here to piss on anybody’s fun. If people enjoy football on any level, then good luck to them. I hope they all have a great day tomorrow.

I just wish they could do it without shoving it in my face.

My one tradition on Grand Final day is to see how long I can go without finding out the result. This is much, MUCH harder than you might think.

My record was 10pm, back around the turn of the century. I had been out to a movie with an ex-girlfriend and we continued to a nightclub where they blew it by playing the club song of the winning team. Way to kill the mood, DJ. On other years, I haven’t been able to go five minutes. You seriously have to hide if you want to avoid finding out. It’s on every radio in every shop. Don’t visit a friend, they’ll be watching. You can’t even go for a walk for risk of some yobs driving past yelling the name of their victorious team. This has happened.

It’s not until you try to that you realise how bloody hard it is to remain unaware of a particular piece of information without also being ignorant of everything else. Those of us who like to consider ourselves above such things can often be mocked for having heard of Snookie or the Kardashians. But there is such a thing as accidental knowledge. If you’re interested in important things that are happening in the world, and therefore access media that provide information, how can you not have heard of Perez Hilton? How can you not know that a princess is pregnant? The only way is to cut off all other information.They say no knowledge is ever wasted but really, some is.

That is why tomorrow, I am going to try to go offline. This is a lot harder than it sounds because I would prefer to remain connected to the news that I am concerned about – and there’s a fair bit of it about at the moment. Over the last six years, the longest time I have spent offline would have been during trans-pacific flights. For the first few hours I wonder what I might be missing, but after that, I adjust and realise that I really don’t need to be connected to instantaneous information all the time and I might just be able to do without it for even longer. Of course, as soon as I’m off the plane, I’m back on my device looking for signal. I could probably give up if I wanted to, but I don’t want to. And there are worse addictions to have.

This Saturday though, for the sake of being able to remain unaware of just one little bit of sports trivia, I will try to sacrifice my awareness of the rest of the world. As I said, I do not begrudge the rest of the country’s obsession with this event. I just want to option of not having to know something that has no relevance or importance to me.

Even US media, which can usually be relied on to ignore anything that does not directly
involve America or Americans, is no refuge from the Festival of the Boot.

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