I’m watching Manchester City v Liverpool at the moment. Two pathetically soft penalties so far, and it’s only half time. Neither of them should have been given (as with the one in the Leicester v Wolves game earlier), and it’s all becoming a bit silly now. I slipped on the wet garage floor earlier, and I was immediately given two penalties by overly concerned referees.
2-0 to the home team at half time, and they’re cruising into the second round like a footballing knife through round one butter. And with 8 minutes left, they’re still two up and the man with the etching tool might well have been putting their name on the trophy already, for once Torquay sweep Crawley aside, they’ll surely go all the way and hold that famous trophy aloft… but wait…
Crawley get one back.
And then, in the 90th minute (which admittedly did last 19 minutes), they only go and equalise.
The crowd, who weren’t even there, go wild. But not for long, because 18 minutes into that 19 minutes added because of attempted (and failed) repairs to the Crawley goalkeeper, Torquay United score again to seal the tie 3-2. But wait…
Crawley get another one back, 21 minutes into the 19 minutes of stoppage time.
I know, right?
It’s 3-3. And the referee, deciding that 22 minutes of the added 19 minutes on 90 minutes signals that we’ll have 30 minutes of extra time. Incredible.
A quiet 12 minutes ensues, before Torquay restore their advantage for the [checks notes] third time. And then, as if to add insult to insult, the Devon Masters score again, hammering home their advantage to make it 5-3 with just 12 minutes to play.
And that’s how it finished. If you are only counting the Torquay goals, that is.
A minute later, Crawley hit back. It’s 5-4 and there’s all the time in the world left (especially given the plethora of last minute goals in normal time). Mr Engraver shrugs a little, but then gets back to work with his Dremel multitool.
7 minutes left: it’s 5-5! Incredible. Amazing.
It only remains for someone to end this madness before it goes to penalties and finishes with an obviously fake, scarcely believable scoreline like 5-6 or something.
Step forward Ashley Nadesan, who, with 90 seconds remaining, pops the ball into the net for the Sussex giantkillers. And it’s a obviously fake, scarcely believable 5-6.
I didn’t see the FA Cup game between Torquay United and Crawley Town earlier, because for some reason, they didn’t show it here. But I wish I had.
Long and dull story short, we need a few more points on our medical insurance spin-off programme to earn better discounts and nicer freebies. I’ve all but reached my limit for points earned through exercise for the year, so I started looking at other ways of scoring enough to get us over the metaphorical, virtual line.
And there is was: a mental health questionnaire that I could do in 5 minutes while watching the football. And it promised almost twice as many points as a 30 minute workout with my heart pumping at 150bpm. Easy money.
And so I went for it. As I remember, there were seven parts to it and it was all multiple choice stuff – often the old ‘”I strongly disagree” to “I strongly agree” with this statement’ kind of thing. I strongly agreed with some of them and I strongly disagreed with others. Occasionally, where I felt fairly neutral about the given statement, I clicked “neutral”.
And then I finished the thing and collected my 500 points and it suggested that I speak to a mental health counsellor.
It also appeared to class me as “at risk” from my drinking habits. But my drinking habits are equivalent to a glass of wine each evening. If that puts me at risk, then the world (including me) is really in trouble.
And I truthfully answered the mental health questions in the same sort of way. Sure, I don’t think I’m 100% happy 100% of the time, but the fact is that none of us is having an easy ride this year, and if you actually are still 100% happy 100% of the time, then I think that it’s actually you that has the mental health issue.
Honestly, this questionnaire seems to be the equivalent of googling your headache and the daily mail dot com telling you that you have a brain tumour. Overkill much?
I’m well aware that denial isn’t just a river in Egypt, but if you feel that my having trouble getting to sleep a week last Saturday demands that I seek immediate help from a counsellor, then you’re a) being a bit dramatic, b) wasting my time and (more importantly) theirs, and c) not a Sheffield United supporter.
I will be good, I will to continue to exercise my mind and body, and really: I won’t off myself anytime soon. I’ll also try and get less stressed about the football, but having narrowly lost this week’s fantasy matchup to that “goal” by Tariq Lamptey – insult added to injury by the fact that the foul on Højbjerg was also counted as a dispossession and further that the two goals scored against Lamptey weren’t deducted from his score – I feel I’m ok to feel a bit aggrieved every now and again.
So yes, football – such a big bit of my life – is still not a good thing for me at the moment.
I’m still trawling through the 300 photos I took in 30-odd hours over the weekend. And I was asleep for some of those hours. This image jumped out at me, though. It jumped out at me when I took it.
This is the goal at the western end of the football pitch inside the maximum security prison on Robben Island. It was here that some of the prisoners played football and established the Makana Football Association back in 1969. Football became an escape from the harsh daily realities of prison life and forged bonds between prisoners from many of the differing political factions who were held on Robben Island by the Apartheid regime.
The Makana F.A. was given honorary membership of FIFA in 2007.
Made from aging, rickety wood and a fishing net, this ramshackle structure shows just how little is required for sport to bridge gaps – even between those with radically differing opinions on life.
The museum could have repaired it, updated it or painted it white. Made a statement. But I’m so glad that they didn’t – I think it says far more in the condition that it’s in. When we visited, the skies were glowering and grey and with the tufts of dead grass, the dark wood and the solid, depressing wall… it just all seemed to fit.