I got a new mobile phone recently. Isn’t that exciting?
But when I got my new one and was in the process of removing all the relevant information off my old one, I noticed something depressing…
Of the estimated 9,500 texts I sent and received on my old HTC Desire in the 18 months I had it, a good half of those texts must have been to do with arranging games of indoor football. What’s even more incredible is that I actively gave up organising a regular game in the first half of 2011.
If you’ve never tried to organise a game of indoor football then you should be very grateful, because – as anyone who has ever had the misfortune to do it will tell you – it’s a thankless and stressful task that far outweighs the enjoyment you have from actually playing in it.
Very few people appreciate the effort you’ve put into wasting an entire Sunday morning frantically phoning and texting people to make up the numbers because some inconsiderate bastard has decided they have a mild hangover and cancels on you with 90 minutes notice, despite having previously agreed to participate and knowing that if there aren’t enough people to play then that puts a load of other people out, both in the sense of it being a waste of time to play a game with not enough people, and from the financial sense that if they don’t play, the overall cost for everyone else goes up as well.
Oh, and to top it off, they knew they were playing football the next morning, but did they think about that before going out and getting wasted the night before? Of course not, because at the time they knew in their minds that they’d be up and about by 8:30am for a 12pm game the next day and be as fresh as a daisy.
Only they’re not.
And do these people apologise? Of course they don’t. They just put their heads down for a week safe in the knowledge that because of limited numbers you have no choice but to ask them again.
But the annoyances don’t stop there.
What about the people who say ‘I’d love a game of football, keep me in mind when there’s a space’ and yet every time you ask them they have a ready-made excuse not to play?
“Oh sorry, the Vicar has just made an unannounced visit and I have to bake a cake. Ask me again next time?”
“Oh sorry, it’s the anniversary of the death of my gerbil’s cousin. I’ll definitely play next week though!”
“Can’t I’m afraid…I’m hoovering the curtains”.
If you don’t want to play football, then don’t bloody well say that you do!
Then there are the people who appear not to have any friends or acquaintances outside of the rag-tag bunch of guys who play indoor football. When asked if they can get anyone they simply say they’ve never met anyone else who has ever even heard of the sport. And you know it’s because they just can’t be arsed sending a text or two.
Some people say they can ‘definitely get a couple of guys’ until they then tell you with 20 minutes to kick-off that nobody got back to them.
Almost as bad as them are the people who turn up with no consideration for the amount of time and effort you’ve put in trying to get this game of football arranged in the first place and moan because the teams have ended up uneven. But do they want to arrange it? No.
Or the people who never speak to you until they just so happen to be coming up to Dundee for a weekend and fancy a game of football. When that happens they are all of a sudden acting like your long-lost best friend.
Or even the cunning bastards who say they can’t afford to pay, knowing fine that you can’t afford for them not to play, and despite the fact they probably spent £60 on a night out the day before.
And what about when there’s a bad apple among the selection. An individual or group of people who ruin the game by either not taking it seriously (I appreciate it’s a bit of fun, but it is a game of football and not an exercise in slapstick comedy) or by being a dirty bastard. I even once had a guy play who – to be blunt – stank like a barrel of dead ferrets. In circumstances like that other players will moan to you – privately – that you need to do something about it, but leave you high and dry when you do so you end up looking like a complete bastard.
In the interest of fairness, I will say that there are plenty of people that play who always turn up when they say they will. They do try to help you get other people and they are flexible in their availability. They do it for the same reason that people like me arrange it – because they just want to play football.
Occasionally when you exchange stories of the hassles of organising indoor football on forums (not forums specific to that of course, even though a support group would be a good idea) you get people who say ‘Oh, we have such a large pool of players that if anyone gives us hassle they just lose their spot’.
Those people are bastards.
I once joked to a friend of mine that anyone who organises a game of football should put it on their CV. He scoffed at the suggestion, but successfully organising a game involves people management, organisational skills, commitment, an ability to meet deadlines and demonstrates that you will put in a load of effort for little return. I’d far rather hire someone like that than someone who has spent a few years clock watching in a random office or shop.
Non football players often said to me that I shouldn’t bother with it and that it just wasn’t worth the hassle, and as I say, early in 2011 I decided that I’d had enough and went and played in someone else’s game. As far as I was concerned, they could deal with all the crap. When asked to, I’ll still help out and try to get people.
After all, it’s not that hard or inconvenient.