Those who described the post-Olympic feeling as being like coming off a great holiday got it about right. Two weeks in the sun can see you returning to your mundane life with intentions of making key changes; worry less, work less, enjoy yourself.
When real life does hit, the reality is very different. All the things that make your life difficult are still there; lack of time, lack of money, other people.
The campaign to encourage people who’d woken up to the idea of live sport to get their post-Olympic fix by going to a grassroots football game was laudable but perhaps a little overstated. Going to lower league football after watching the Olympics is a bit like going to a foam party in a nightclub in Mansfield in an attempt to recreate the memories of a hedonistic week in Ibiza.
Lower league football is unpopular for a reason, it’s often not particularly attractive to watch. Marginal sports similare similarly not that exciting to watch; those who’d watched handball at the Games saw it at its very best. I suspect watching it in the South Whitby district league is a less than thrilling experience.
Encouraging someone to go to the first round of the league cup game to recreate something of the magic is likely to fall short.
The problem with a game like Oxford against Bournemouth on Tuesday night is that there is so little context in which to judge the game. If we win, we might get to Wembley, but it’s unlikely. We could be up for a giantkilling, but we don’t yet know how much of a giant Bournemouth are; this season they could be heading for meteoric rise or a hideous collapse. It could be some sort of test of our credentials, but who knows whether Bournemouth are playing to their full efforts?
In short we don’t know whether this is a big game or a small game. So we don’t know whether the result is a big one or not. If we don’t know, then nor is someone coming into it totally blind. In reality it’s just a game of football, those less engaged would not understand why anyone would want to do this 20 to 40 times a year.
The 1st round of the league cup is always a curious one. Some diehards choose not to attend because they’re on holiday or because they’re saving themselves for more meaningful fixtures later in the year. The summer holidays and warm weather means there are more girlfriends and foreign students. I wonder quite what they make of it all.
Every story has to start somewhere, even 50 Shades of Grey needs time to introduce characters, places and contexts before it gets to any vaginal fisting. Regulars understand that these games will only gain significance later in the season.