Dom Joly: Football crazy, and it's all my son's fault

Share
Related Topics

I hate football. Scratch that. I loathe football. I detest and despise this hideous game that is so all-pervasive that nobody ever asks you if you like football.

They ask you who you support, the assumption being that you obviously love the stupid game and it's just a question of which stupid club you follow.

I always reply in the same way: "I hate football." Things then get really awkward. This is because the sort of person who asks who you support is also the sort of person that takes your hatred of the game personally. You might as well have said: "I hate you and your tattoos and your badly highlighted hair and your inflammable clothing." Yet if I tell someone that I love cricket and they tell me it's rubbish or they don't understand it or hate it, I don't throw a hissy fit. I just feel terribly sorry for them and move on.

All this makes it particularly odd that I have watched pretty much every game in the current European Championship and absolutely loved it. I started watching in an attempt to be a good dad. Despite my best efforts, my son Jackson had been displaying more and more signs of an unhealthy interest in "the beautiful game". I behaved like an ogre and banned him from wearing football clothing. I bought him cricket bats and rugby balls, but it was of no use. So I gave in. I started watching Euro 2012 with him, as I thought it would be a good father/son bonding affair. It certainly was. I can now chat comfortably about Roy Hodgson's tactical choices, whether Rooney has had enough game time, whether Theo Walcott should start the game ....

It's crazy. Why have I suddenly become almost obsessed with this game? Partly it's because the underestimated England team have done so well this far (I'm expecting us to go out on penalties tonight). Mainly, I think I've just enjoyed sharing my boy's excitement. I love the fact that the stadium in Wroclaw blares out the Alan Parsons Project's "Eye in the Sky" song before every match. This, like the English team, is a much underestimated piece of work and I'm thrilled to hear it being given such a public airing. I'm also convinced that Greece's unexpected win against the much-fancied Russians was the deciding factor in the Greek people's decision to narrowly vote to stay in the eurozone. My only problem is having to field Jackson's non-stop questions. I try to deal with these as best as a non-football loving dad can:

"Dad, has any goalie ever kicked the ball from his goal into a goal at the other end?"

"Um, I'm sure it's happened."

"Dad, is Ronaldo wearing make-up?"

"Um, yes, I think he is."

"Dad, do all footballers have tattoos?"

"Um, I believe it's compulsory."

"Dad, what are they all shouting at the referee?"

"Um, they seem to disagree with his decision somewhat."

"Dad, why does everybody hate Germany?"

"Um, well, everybody doesn't hate them ... it's because of the Nazis ... it's a bit complicated, but they're OK now."

"Dad, who do you support?"

"It's time for bed, son."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas