We've got over it, that game of football I wrote about last time. (Derby County v QPR). 'We wuz robbed' is what all supporters say when they lose and this time it's true. (And no, we haven't really got over it.) Irrespective of the financial importance of the result to Derby (around £160 million over several years), non football supporters I'm sure would be amazed how important it all is to so many people. Over forty thousand people travelled to Wembley to see Derby County,' their team'. Now that's a lot of people. I have never experienced so much collective gloom in all of my life. And it's this collective feeling, this joint 'togetherness' I'd like to explore.
As I mentioned last time, we have many emotional experiences in life, some highs, some lows. But seldom involving so many people all at the same time. I know of no other experience (losing this football match) that has affected my whole existence, my whole well being to such a depth. And I'm seventy four years of age, for goodness sake! England in the World Cup in Brazil, I'm interested, but not particularly concerned either way. Nothing has affected me so deeply and for so long as the result of Derby County's demise. Now why is that so, I wonder.
Yorkshire flag. Everyone in the village has an opinion regarding her actions but she doesn't care. Her flag signifies' who she is'.
There's no doubt coming from certain parts of the country, never mind the world affects the way we live, think, behave. Essex, for instance has gained an image in post war Britain that is brash in the extreme. You have only to watch 'The Only Way is Essex' on television to gain an opinion, however accurate of Essex people and Essex life. All hair extensions and fake tans apparently. (TOWIE is a reality show; a caricature of 'real life, perhaps!) Yorkshire is the BIGGEST county and often it shows, Yorkshire 'expats' so often feeling they have to show they're the 'biggest and the best'. (Not all of course but enough!) Little old Derbyshire seemingly has no 'identity' of note. Many people I've met on my motor home travels couldn't place Derbyshire on a map however hard they tried. The Derbyshire motto, by the way is 'Derbyshire born, Derbyshire bred. Strong in the arm, weak in the head.'!
There's no doubt this identity thingumajig is important to a lot of people. Manchester United are followed by thousands of people; many attend their matches weekly; many more follow their progress and support 'their' team without ever attending a live match. How many children over the years have adopted Manchester United as 'their' team, seduced by the glamour of the Bobby Charlton's and George Bests.
There's not always much to recommend living in Derby, or Nottingham for that matter and standing by a machine all day to earn the proverbial 'crust'. (Times are changing but many still lead hum-drum lives, many haven't even got the satisfaction of a job, however mundane.) Small wonder their local football team, often a traditional thing, is followed with passion and blinkered fervour, come rain or shine. To many it is the event of the week. (The cry often at Derby County matches is 'It you hate Forest, stand up'. Surely the word HATE is a misnomer; or is it?) So to many this football malarky is a traditional think. Forty thousand individuals converging on London to support a football team is impressive. Plus thousands more watching Derby on televisions around Derby itself is awesome. I have never experienced such gloom after the match in Derby. I watched with friends and the gloom was indescribable. And a thought occurred to me. Is the 'collective thing' the important thing here. Is it 'catching'; are we all victims of 'mass hysteria on a grand scale?
I remember a year or two ago a young marching band performing, Mansfield way if I remember right. It was a sunny summer's day. One or two children began to suffer from the heat. And a trickle became a flood. More and more children succumbed to the heat. Afterwards the suggestion was that the children were victims of mass hysteria, auto suggestion if you like. Derby County supporters, myself included are victims too, I wouldn't wonder! Victims of collective doom and gloom on an epic scale.
We humans are the ultimate animal. We have feelings and emotions. Dogs and cats cannot appreciate a cracking penalty save or a Beckhamesque pass all of forty yards. (Neither are they daft enough to sit in the freezing cold on a Saturday in January watching a soccer match. You don't sit in the garden in January. So why sit outside at a football match. Who's the clever one now!
A final thought, courtesy of a friend. This lady suggests we all have a 'spiritual side' to our nature. What is happening, she suggests, is the spiritual side of many is channelled, not towards religion, but towards another outlet; in Derby football supporters case, Derby County. Makes sense, what was it the famous Bill Shankly once said, 'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much more important than that.
What is your 'drug', greatest passion in life? Do tell! Now I'm going for a lie down. All this thinking is making me quite tired!