We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident
We hold these truths to be self-evident: That blue is, indeed, the colour.
I don’t really like blue. Not all that much. Not especially. I mean, most of my wardrobe is black (there’s a surprise), and I’ve always liked red, and purple is a pretty cool colour. But blue? It’s never done much for me. Liking blue, for me, is a learned trait, as is liking football.
I’m not a natural lover of sport in general, and even less so of football. I was informed, at a young age, by my protestant Glaswegian grandparents that I supported Rangers. This, of course, was accompanied by t-shirts in a certain shade of blue. To be honest, white and green hoops would have been worse, so I shouldn’t really complain. The very concept of being told to support a team you’ve never seen play, who partake in a sport you have no interest in, purely because of your lineage, is absurd. Maybe that’s part of why I’ve never understood patriotism. Everyone’s got to be born somewhere, to someone, why does it matter where or to whom? (I shall now fret about whether or not I’ve used the word “whom” correctly, but not enough to look it up).
Later life saw me, in an attempt to continue to socialise with friends I’d been thrown together with at school and in an effort to connect with my father, learning to enjoy the “beautiful game.” I shall say, however, that there’s absolutely nothing beautiful about watching a nil-nil draw while standing on exposed terraces in the middle of January. Naturally we ended up watching my local team, which once again rekindled a relationship with the colour blue. I would shout out as one with the crowd, identifying myself as a member of the “blue army.” The parallels with tribalism and the metaphor of team sports as a substitute for tribal warfare were all too apparent. I shall confess that I got quite into it for a while. Still, it’s all pointless in the end. Nothing is really achieved. No meaningful difference is made. I’m sure one could use that to continue the parallels with warfare. That said, I doubt the troubles in the Middle East could be settled with an Israel vs Palestine kick about. It might be entertaining to watch though.
Returning now, on occasion, to that hallowed turf down the road from me, it all seems to be so oddly futile. Such anger, such hatred, such energy wasted on twenty two men running around a field after a ball and, if we’re honest, not really being very good at it. Every decision the referee makes in favour of the other team is necessarily wrong, his eyesight and parentage are immediately questioned and at no point is anyone ever willing to concede that, actually, the big centre back may have been a little rash with that two footed challenge after all. No, it’s simple, it’s black and white.
Or, rather, in this case, it’s blue.