Dear friend I write to you in the greatest of haste. I fear that I do not have much time. People make mistakes and God makes people (allegedly) but now I feel like I have done something that cannot be forgiven by either man or person. I hide desperately as I appeal to your good nature to come and save me. I am scribbling this apology on this patient white cat because I know it is a foolproof way to gain access to your house. I know that you are not one to deny entry to any cat. I hope this cat message finds you.
I am sorry for not supporting your football club, or for that matter any football club. I know you probably don’t even care enough to read the full extent of this cat message and that this time your disappointment in me has turned to anger. But still for the sake of our friendship I must try to make amends.
It is not that I dislike only football. I dislike all sports. I dislike all endeavours of athletic prowess and I dislike any gathering where someone will win and someone will lose. I trace all this back to my childhood. I loved playing games. I know this may be shocking, but there was a time where even I used to be out with the other kids, making merry and playing cricket, but everything was soon to change. As children when we turned seven or eight, we learned the great virtues of the institution of trash talking. We were made aware that it was possible to reduce a persons ability by launching potent and incisive psychological attacks. Things meant not to reduce their physical prowess, but to get inside their heads and change their very fibre and being.
And while it was immensely enjoyable to launch these attacks, I found myself incapable of receiving them. When I was playing cricket and the wicket keeper behind me said things to me, mean awful things, I was forced to cry and leave the field. When I tried not to cry, the determination and the will it took to not cry rendered me incapable of movement and the ball would come and strike my scalp.
That is why when I see someone demonstrate athletic prowess that does not improve my life in any way, I yawn and watch something enriching like teleshopping. At least I can laugh there.
I began to start watching football in order to have friends. I had found when people started saying things like ‘United’ or ‘City’ or expounding tales of mysterious German and Russian men, that I was very behind on the times. I had no common footing on which to converse with anyone anymore it seemed. That is why I began to watch football. The premise of the game seemed largely simple. Attractive rich men ran up and down the field for ninety minutes, after which they went home to have sex with supermodels. In between running and sex, they appeared on television to sell you items that they don’t use themselves.
While I did not enjoy watching football, (or soccer, as it is called by people who think football is something you play with your hands), I took interest in it academically. Soon I discovered nuances in this game. A white spherical object, something about nets, and one fashionable player on each team who sometimes wears gloves.
Yesterday when you invited me yesterday to watch ‘united’ versus ‘city’, I knew that these united people had no chance going against an entire city. I did not question their unity in any way, it’s just that I thought they did not have much of a chance against an entire city. It was quite lucky then, that only ten people from the city decided to show up. What was everyone else doing? Watching football, probably. Or maybe it was just a sparsely populated city. I too, like you, would have supported city, but then changed my mind seeing that it was an even match. You kept frowning at me throughout the match when I cheered at random intervals. I must explain that I do not understand something that seemed to be crucial to your watching the game. I did not understand the concept of ‘supporting’ a team. I have no stake in the success or loss of any of these players, with whom I share nothing. I am not trying to say that one can only support teams from their own country, I am saying I don’t understand the idea of support.
It just did not seem like these wealthy attractive people needed my support while they sweat for their own amusement. So whichever team does anything, I cheer for the game. Yesterday when the united people defeated the entire city, I cheered for them. But I saw from your face that I had made a big mistake. That is when I also noticed that you were wearing the same t shirt as the city people, in fact all of your friends were. And that big flag in your living room also seemed to match the city colours.
You accused me of treason and I ran for my life. Your friends, it appears have gathered a mass of followers and are on some sort of man hunt for me. I cannot understand why, however I want you know that I am more than willing to apologise to your friends and to all the citizens of the city in question. All ten of them and the three or four others who watched from the sidelines. I am trying to understand sports, but it is a process like everything else. I hope you try to understand.
If you are willing to accept my apology, please scribble YES on this cat and send it back out. If you are unwilling to accept, then please write NO and still send the cat back out. I will accept your answer, whatever it is. I am not here to try to change you, but I would really appreciate if you could call off your friends. They seem upset.