I have recently started to watch live football again. I did go along to watch Wimbledon before Grace became ill, but after her diagnosis, I stopped. Most Saturdays, if Grace felt well we would do something together and if she wasn’t then I didn’t like to go off and leave her for longer than it took to do the shopping.
I think I have mentioned before that this came about because my brother persuaded me to go along to watch Hibs on Christmas Eve. It is probably worth mentioning that I am a Hearts supporter (the other Edinburgh team). I enjoyed the game, and the thought occurred that if I could enjoy watching Hibs then surely I would enjoy watching AFC Wimbledon even more. So I dusted off my old scarf, splashed out on this years replica top, and bought a ticket for the game against Oxford United on the 14th of January. Fortunately, it turned out to be a good entertaining game, with Wimbledon winning 2-1. I have since gone along to a few more games, all of which I have enjoyed, strangely enough even the ones we lost.
I know that football has helped me in the process of grieving. What I am trying in this post is to work out how and why.
Saturdays, especially during the winter had a tendency to drag. Because I went to working a three-day week after I turned sixty and because I normally do all the domestic stuff, shopping, washing and etc., on a Friday I don’t have much to do on a Saturday. Also on Saturdays most people (who work five days a week) are doing other things. Going to the football is an enjoyable way of filling that gap.
What I have found is that it gives me ninety minutes when the only thing that is important in the world is what is happening on the pitch. That helps. The feel good factor of winning helps as well. Strangely enough so does the disappointment of losing. Setting it against losing Grace, losing a football match doesn’t seem to be quite so important. Supporting the Wombles means that (unlike say supporting Chelsea or Celtic) losing a game doesn’t come as a surprise. I was going to say that no one dies, but as this is the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Hillsbourgh disaster we know unfortunately that occasionally this isn’t true.
AFC Wimbledon has given me something to be part of, something to love even. For that I can only be grateful. (So much so that I have invested in a season ticket for next year)