I would like to start by asking those of you who don’t like football, not to stop reading! I am very aware that it is not everyone’s thing, and this blog is not a football blog, but I wanted to explain, how for me, it is a very important part of my overall therapy. I am sure that we all have a hobby that we are passionate about, so please substitute, football for your passion, then you will get the idea!
For the past five years, I have been through some very dark times, and if I’m honest, still have them. I have nearly died twice from treatment, and have suffered so many different side effects, that it is almost impossible to live something approaching a normal life.Since this all started, something affected my brain and I have been unable to sleep properly. I put up with this for a couple of years but my health was getting worse, and it was turning into a mental nightmare! I used to sit up most of the night watching TV. I just couldn’t understand, why I couldn’t sleep. The hospital were concerned as my body couldn’t complete the healing process without proper rest.
They put me in touch with a clinical psychiatrist, who explained that my brain was like a computer. That hasn’t been said very often!! He explained that although I had still switched off, there was a programme still functioning in my brain, and he suggested taking some tablets, to switch off that programme. Of course the normal dose wasn’t enough so I took double and that did the job! I still have to do that now.
It was explained to me that the shock and physical trauma of what I was going through, had triggered something like the grieving process. My loss being my normal life. I found that as I was either in hospital or at home, I had a lot of thinking time, and I just couldn’t escape my own thoughts. But there was football! As most of you may be aware, I am a passionate Crystal Palace fan, and my wife and I, and my boys have season tickets to watch them. Some might think that staying at home with your thoughts is a better option than watching The Eagles, but I found that, for a couple of hours I managed to focus purely on the match.
At last I had found something to take my mind off things.I go to the matches as regularly as I can, and catch up with my football pals. We discuss all things football, and my issues seemed to have disappeared temporarily. It also happens when I am watching it on TV, or reading about it. A magic drug, for me anyway!
I then started to think about the power of football in society in general. Wherever I travel, be it in the UK or abroad, very quickly I am involved in a football conversation, much to the dread of my wife! Most people have a view about teams, players etc. Generally people are very passionate about their team even if they don’t go to games. The subject of football, crosses generations, sexes, politics, religion, and nations. In fact to some people it is a religion of it’s own. I know it can be tribal at times, but I think that all football fans appreciate a wonderful piece of skill, even if it isn’t from their own team.
Football seems to stir passions like nothing else. We are in a major world economic crisis, and we have a temporary passion against the Government, Bankers, the Media, Politicians etc, but that will all eventually calm down, unlike our passion for a game, and its major players.I wonder why that is?
Without my focus on football, I don’t know what shape I would be in, and I know it sounds sad, but I can’t wait for next season to start! I’m sure that at Selhurst Park, it will be same old, same old, but for me that is a good thing. It is my temporary escape into another world.
If you’re not a football lover, what would do it for you?