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

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Science versus religion in the three-parent baby debate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Kylie has helped to boost viewing figures for the talent show  

When an Aussie calls you a ‘bastard’, you know you’ve arrived

Howard Jacobson
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee