As I write this it is Sunday afternoon. I’m watching rugby, which is one of the things I quite like to do. A lot of people might think that I like watching rugby because I used to play rugby. I have the physique of someone who might have played rugby in my younger days, before age and excess calories caught up with me. Beyond a few PE lessons in school I did not play rugby. The best I could say is that I was less bad at rugby than I was at most sports. I have never been good at playing sport. I do like watching sport though.
The game I’m watching is Wales versus Ireland in the first round of The Six Nations. I’m supporting Wales because that is where I grew up and they have always been my team of choice. Wales are traditionally quite good at rugby but, when I was growing up, the national team was quite bad, so my loyalty to the cause was tested early on and never found wanting. They’ve mostly been quite good for the last 16 years or so, but they are going through a bad patch again at the moment. I don’t think their dip in form has much to do with the pandemic, but it does seem to coincide. Before the pandemic they were arguably one of the best teams in the world and right now they appear to be ranked ninth. And that may be harsh on Japan who are the team currently ranked tenth but haven’t really had an opportunity to play any of the other top-ranked teams since COVID 19 decided to break the world. Being ranked ninth in the world isn’t too bad in some sports, but rugby is only popular in a small number of countries so being ranked ninth is pretty bad. I don’t like it when Wales are bad at rugby, but there is, I must confess, an element of nostalgia in watching my national team being utterly clueless, because that is very much the fan experience I endured for much of my youth.
Ireland are a pretty good team but they’ve had a player sent off, so there is a slim chance that, even though the Welsh team are, on recent form, very much the weaker side, they could win. Indeed as I write this, Wales have just taken the lead but they do appear to be making a meal of it.
I am drinking beer as I watch the match, because that is also something I like to do. Drinking beer and eating high calorie food seems, possibly perversely, to be the perfect companion to watching sports. The match is taking place in Cardiff and in less Covidy times I might even have gone to watch it in the Welsh capital. If not in the stadium, then at the very least in one of Cardiff’s many bars. As it is, I’m watching it in my living room in Reading. Mrs Proclaims is currently upstairs working towards her PhD, as she does most weekends and Little Proclaims is also upstairs, having her afternoon nap, which she has timed to coincide with the game. My toddler is very considerate in that respect, though were she awake, she would no doubt be objecting quite vocally to the sport on the television and be asking me to change it to something she would like to watch. Which, depending on her mood, might be Peppa Pig, or all of the songs from Frozen and Frozen 2.Occassionally, and quite inexplicably, she does ask to watch George Michael music videos and has a preference for his Wham-era material. I genuinely don’t know why.
As well as the opening weekend of the Six Nations rugby tournament, I believe today is also the day of the Super Bowl. I’ve never watched the Super Bowl. I think I might enjoy the sport that is referred to as football in the US. It looks nothing like the sport that most of the rest of the world calls football though. What with living in the UK, I’ve never really watched American Football and I think the Super Bowl is the only NFL game that is ever shown on the BBC. It pretty much happens overnight if, like me, you live according to Greenwich Mean Time. As I normally have to work on the following Monday it has always seemed irresponsible to lose a night’s sleep. I could watch it on the BBC iPlayer later the following day, but normally the BBC is so proud of having shown the match that it has a tendency to reveal the score before I’ve ever had chance to watch it, and I’ve never seen the point of watching a game when I already know the score. This year I do still have to work, but given that I work in a school and schools are pretty much closed at the moment, I don’t suppose anyone would notice if I happened to be a bit tired tomorrow, so maybe tonight could be the night that I discover what all the fuss is about.
Probably not though, I’ve drunk way too much beer this afternoon, and I suspect I will pass out long before the Super Bowl kicks off.
Anyway the game I have been watching has now finished and Wales have managed to pull off the most unlikely of victories, though they very nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
I try not to attach too much emotional significance to the outcome of sporting events, but when Wales wins at rugby, it does tend to make me feel happy. Anything that can lift my mood is pretty valuable at the moment.
Then again I do have Little Proclaims in my life. She has just woken from her nap and insisted I switch the TV off so she can dance in the kitchen. I don’t know why one is contingent on the other, but it seems important to her.
So I’ve switched of the TV and I’m off to watch my daughter dance in the kitchen.