Some people love football for the escapism, some for the intricate tactics, and some for the atmosphere of a full stadium singing as one. Others love the friendship and camaraderie, while others still just appreciate the simplicity of the beautiful game. Some glass half full types even love all of those things.
Me – I’m not a glass half full type. I’m really just a glutton for punishment.
Last year, during the closing stages of a National Women’s League match at Gower Park in Hamilton, my favourite New Zealand football team conceded goals in the 89th and 95th minutes to snatch a 3-2 defeat from the jaws of victory. And I had what in the old days I think they used to call a nervous breakdown. You can see it in the picture above. Yep, that’s me. Basically completely and utterly falling apart right then and there in a public space. Sigh. What a mess.
So a fair question might be, who gets that upset over football? The answer is me. And also not me. Because that picture above was the result of a bad football game, and also it wasn’t. In short the game was the trigger, not the cause.
Another question could be – if football triggers you like that, why don’t you quit following it so obsessively? The answer to that one is relatively simple – I’m going to. But first I want to indulge myself in one last act of madness. How could I stop obsessing without ever having lived every football tragic’s dream by following my team for a complete season, attending all of their games wherever they might be in Aotearoa?
I’m taking my camera, but this will primarily be a writing exercise. Because in the past I’ve blamed photography for the low quality of some of my writing and I want to see what I can do without that to fall back on as an excuse. I also want to live in the moments as much as possible rather than worrying too much about capturing them for other people.
Along the way, I plan to write about mental health and some of the things I have learned from my experience over the past year battling anxiety and depression. Because while it’s been absolutely horrendous, it’s also taught me a lot of things that it would be a pity not to pass on.
If WaiBOP have a bad year, at least it will give me lots of inspiration to talk about misery and how to overcome it. And who knows, maybe they’ll win the league and this blog will turn out to be a lot harder to write than I imagined! I hope so.