I’ll have 90 precious minutes, every day this month, to shop in peace. No crowds, no lines, that is, if can find a shop attendant.
My son, Richard has been up all night coordinating the spreadsheets of our private family betting pool called the Polla. He and son Chris are the technicians in this venture, designing complicated graphs and tables which work with hidden formulae, recording everyone’s bet, for every match. The system takes into account the winners, the losers, and those who draw. Every score, every red card, every hiccough is automatically translated into points, which add up as the championship progresses. Gordon is the treasurer, who tries to control the money flowing in from home and abroad at $20 a go. Anthony is the sales executive who has his scouts out gathering in last minute bets - 165 at the last count. I don’t know what Michael is doing but his title is Office Manager. It all comes together at 3.00 o’clock on Thursday the 12th of June and continues interminably.
With five men in the family breathing Football, I’ll have time to create new menus, clean out my cupboards and take up taxidermy. It won’t really matter what I do. I could pole dance in the living room with a live cobra on my head and no one would notice, as long as I didn’t block the TV.
What is it about kicking a sphere, or worse, watching others do it, that so satisfies the deepest desires of the hearts of men? I watched my boys from tiny tots. Their eyes always lit up at the sight of a ball.
Of course, spheres occur in nature. Who is our first ancestor who comes out of the cave and happens upon a grapefruit? He picks it up and rolls it around in his hands, and then he tosses it in the air. Of course, he drops it - catching is something you have to learn.
Now, thousands of years on, we gather in stadiums to watch the descendants of the caveman kick the grapefruits. And we lay bets, cheer till we’re hoarse, spend millions and even fight wars over it. If grapefruits were square we’d have none of this bother this month.