As many of you know, it is the hap hap-happiest time of the year; the beginning of premier league Proper Football all over the world, and as I’m organizing my fantasy team and plotting my Saturday mornings (and afternoons, and potentially evenings if I keep getting these mezcal hangovers) from now until the end of May, it occurred to me: Fat Fighting is a sport, and all girls –almost all girls– are expected to play.
Women are encouraged to follow, worship and obsess over the Fat Fighting the way men are over sports. Somewhere along the way, it was decided we were supposed to care about some actress’ visible rib count the way some men worry about their favorite baseball player’s RBI.
Like any sporting fan, there’s pain involved. Teams are fickle, players disappoint. There are drunken midnight promises made to God and self that get called off the moment your side scores a miracle or loses the penalty shoot out. You devote time, passion, money and so, so much emotional energy to what…some men kicking a ball? Some number no one else will ever see, much less care about?
No one understands you, no one cares.
No one wants to sit next to you at the bar because you’re just going to go on and on about points and weekly whatevers until someone –quite possibly you– gets stabbed in the eye just to break the monotony.
Still, I understand the appeal.
It’s not just suffering –unless you support Arsenal, then yeah, it’s pretty much suffering, but that can also be enjoyable in a martyred sort of way– there’s also the elation when your side pulls it off.
I accidentally broke a bar stool when Madrid scored a penalty kick against Barcelona last season, and we all know someone who did a victory lap when they finally fit into the dress that needed a shoehorn and some axle grease just a few months before.
And then of course it becomes a compulsion.
Skipping work to watch the Clásicos (no, I’m not prepared to talk about the Supercopa yet…give me time) spending money you don’t have on tickets, whiling away your Saturday mornings getting drunk in an expat bar even if you’re not a journalist. Where, precisely will the madness end?
I think about the Diet and Beauty industry and how easy it is to get lured in.
We learn it from our parents, from our friends. We support a team because it’s the one we’ve always been around. It’s a way to bond with our social group, or expand the one we’ve already got.
But what if we just don’t LIKE that sport or at least don’t want to go to EVERY game?
Obviously we can choose not to engage, but at what price? Do we lose community? Is it a community we mind losing?
I’d be extremely interested in hearing about the experiences of any of you who had been heavily (er, you know what I mean) into the dieting/obsessing/calorie-counting lifestyle and come out the other side, or anyone who feels their unwillingness to follow that particular “sport” has caused them social woes. Put it in the comments!