We sit and we watch. Sometimes we cheer, we jump, raise our arms, shout, scream, moan, groan, put our head in our hands, yawn, eat a sandwich, chat about something else, but more or less enjoy the game.
Not everyone. Some people see football as a chance to ‘let off steam’, to shout at the referee over minor infringements, to argue every 50/50 decision even if it probably was made correctly. We have a couple in our area, which is quite near the pitch. The other week someone burst into swearing at the referee and nobody could really tell what the anger was for. The ref acknowledged with a bemused laugh.
Harmless, right? Just blowing off steam?
Tooting Broadway, 720 am this morning. A box junction, busy as it gets. By the traffic lights waiting to go right is a long queue. At the front of the queue a young lady in a small car. Two back a lorry carrying a skip. The lights are green but a steady flow of traffic coming the other way means there’s no route through for the small car. So she waits for the right moment.
Meanwhile the lorry driver, window wound down, bounces on his horn, shouts, screams, shouts, screams. The day is young but already he is furious, furious that this car has not found a way through the traffic and therefore is holding him up.
The lady in the car is getting agitated. She goes for it.
Coming the other way a bus driver decides he can get through the lights, even though they’ve just turned red a fraction of a second earlier.
The lorry driver sees that I see him and shouts at me, explaining that the car was in the wrong for taking too long at the junction. He’s got work to do.
He speeds off.
The bus is immobile in the middle of the junction. Glass everywhere. Metal not as it should be.
The car is sideways and immobile in the middle of the junction.
Inside it the lady is alright but in tears. Her car is wrecked and so is her confidence. Her other half is on his way. Many people witnessed the incident and she has phone numbers, which are of no use now but which might be later.
The lorry driver speeds off towards Colliers Wood. He has work to do and she was wrong, not him.
Cars behind the bus start beeping. I shout at one of them too. “There’s been an accident. A bad accident. Get your fucking priorities straight you fucking ****.” Over and over. He stares straight ahead, boiling inside because his box junction is blocked and he’ll be five minutes later getting to where he had to get to.