I have a problem. I also have an utterly beautiful, graceful and wonderful fiancee called Maria. She is not the problem, but you might say she has caused it.
The thing is, in the 30 months since we relocated our lives to the island of Great Britain, she has fallen prey to the whiles and whims of one of the most addictive pastimes that exists: she has fallen in love with football. Having never previously cared about any team sports in her life, a wednesday evening will now find her happily clicking the refresh button on the BBC Sport page which gives text updates on the matches – it makes her really happy.
Now, it would be one thing to start getting into proper grown-up sport like rugby or cricket (and to her credit, she likes them too), but football fanaticism is for overgrown teenagers, not adults. It is for Nick Hornby-types who have football-related dreams, who suffer mood swings dependent on the fixture list, and who know better than Sir Alex Ferguson how to manage a team. Maria's life has been changed by football, and the thing is, it is CONTAGIOUS.
This week, with Maria safely a thousand or more miles away, I have nevertheless attempted to find live online streaming of matches in which I have no real interest; I have had an emotional response to the news that West Ham may still have to pay Sheffield United vast sums of money for being cheating scumbags; and yes, I have been pressing refresh on the BBC Sport text commentary page. What am I becoming? Will somebody help me?
I'm sure Maria will 🙂