I found myself feeling curiously left out as my colleagues left work to watch the England match yesterday. This despite the fact that I didn’t want to watch it, I purposely avoided watching it, and I intended/hoped to take advantage of the reduced commuter traffic (not much reduced, as it happened: such is London’s diversity) to get home easily, and collect my kids from school.
Where they were watching the football, of course, courtesy of the after-school club.
Above all, if I had intended to watch it, my sympathies would have been with the other side anyway: I am Scottish, after all, and as my Dad used to say, “It doesn’t matter who wins, as long as it’s not England.” Plus I’m a sucker for an underdog (I mistyped that as “undergod”; there’s a story in there, I’m sure).
But despite all that, as my colleagues left the office for the pub or wherever, I still felt a slight echo of the thing I felt as a kid when I was left out of something that “everyone else” was doing.
We all want to be part of a tribe, I suppose.
In the end I watched he last half hour or so at the school; from just before the scary personality-cult chants of “Rooney, Rooney!” to the end. The cheers, as you might expect in a primary school, were very high and shrill. I was pleased, though, that Trinidad and Tobago’s goal (before it was disallowed) got almost as loud a cheer. This was Hackney, and of course, there are a lot of kids with Caribbean ancestry.
And maybe a lot of good sports, too. Maybe I should learn from them, and support England. But I can’t see it ever happening: there are some early-learned prejudices that die impossibly hard.
So I guess I’m still part of a tribe.