When you finally drag your beleaguered and alcohol soaked brain into third year, there are very few things that will bring you joy as you trudge through the arbitrary daily life of your final year at university. Most of us have packed in society work because we’ve realised that spending the first two years of university doing anything but our degree has crippled our grade average. Instead, we have to find something else to occupy our time and this is where the sports fans among us have the greatest advantage.
As a fresher, you don’t have to justify why you’re choosing to watch Crawley Town vs Leyton Orient instead of doing your seminar reading. Of course you’re going to choose a thrilling game from the League One relegation battle instead of reading about the life and times of John Stuart Mill. When you get into the years that actually count, it becomes a smidge more difficult to justify. Particularly considering you don’t support Crawley Town or Leyton Orient, and in fact you completely forgot that Crawley had a team in League One and were even less aware that they were dangerously close to being relegated.
If, like me, you’re unfortunate enough to have housemates who think watching sport should be limited to seeing England fail spectacularly at World Cups, then being a student obsessed with sport is a fairly dismal affair. It revolves around googling ‘Watch Football Live’, despising whoever invented BT Sport and wanting to throw my laptop out the window when Sky Go buffers for about the 25th time during the Liverpool v Man City match. And that’s just football. Don’t get me started on waking up at arse o’clock to see England get battered by Australia in the Cricket World Cup or trying to fight said housemates for television time to see England in the Six Nations. In light of my three year struggle being the obsessive sports fan amongst my housemates and extended circle of friends, I have a few tips to those in a similar predicament.
Number One: Don’t discriminate against fans from a rival team. If you’re lucky enough to find someone in first year who will willingly watch football, cricket or rugby with you then it doesn’t matter if you’re a Liverpool fan and they’re a Man United fan. Latch onto them and pray that they end up being as obsessive and nerdy about sport as you. Also, it’s hard to gloat if you’re sat in your bedroom on your lonesome doing the Tim Henman fist clench when your team score a goal.
Number Two: When in a student house, don’t claim TV time for every BBC sport fixture that’s on. Save it up for the big matches, like the Six Nations or the Euro’s. That way, your housemates can’t bitch at you when you ask ever so politely to watch the rugby since you never ask to watch sport on the television because you know that your housemates don’t really like it and it’s so very considerate of you to ask and not just plonk yourself down on the sofa with a beer and refuse to move [insert eyelash flutter here].
Number Three: If your friends decide to join you for this rare and wondrous event, don’t patronise them if they ask idiotic questions about the game. For example, if they innocently inquire who that pundit is while gesturing at the screen, don’t snort in contempt and interrogate them as to why they don’t know who Clive Woodward is. Smile, tell them it’s the World Cup winning legend and internalise your disbelief.
Number Four: For the ladies. Refrain from punching every man in the face who raises their eyebrows and says “You want to watch the football?’. It’s tempting, but instead ask calmly who the only player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final is. If he flounders for an answer and doesn’t immediately tell you it’s Geoff Hurst then smile sweetly and respond “You want to watch the football, really?”
Number Five: When someone asks you why you’re in such a good mood, don’t tell them it’s because Chris Gayle’s double century the other day was one of the finest one day knocks you’ve ever seen and that it was quite something to be reminded of what West Indies cricket is capable of despite their administrative woes. I mean, then you’d have to explain who Chris Gayle is and why the West Indies have been in the doldrums for the past however many years. That’s if the poor soul who inquired even asks a follow up question and doesn’t rapidly walk in the other direction.
It doesn’t matter which year you’re in, university is always going to be stressful at times. Procrastination is key to your survival. Nobody can be in the library twenty four seven, and live to tell the tale. So fellow sports fans, revel in the knowledge that watching Crawley Town v Leyton Orient is helping you get that much desired 2:1. It isn’t detrimental to your degree, I promise.
Having said all this, I’ve just gone downstairs to find my housemates are watching the Scotland v Italy Six Nations match entirely unprompted. We only have seven channels and Saturday afternoon TV is diabolical but it’s a start. There’s hope after all.