I don’t like football much. Or at least I thought I didn’t, but these past couple of weeks there’s been the Euro 2016 tournament and somehow I got sucked in to the point that I actually check every day to see what the results are and watch some of the matches. What the …?!
It all started because my aunt was visiting and she loves football. As she was my guest, it seemed churlish not to let her watch the games she wanted to see and as hostess, it was sort of my duty to sit with her while she did so. And then the weird thing happened and I started rooting for certain teams, getting emotionally involved, shouting at the TV and being angry with the referee, just like a real fan … crazy!
First, it was Sweden. I’m half Swedish and they’re a small country so kind of the underdogs. Who doesn’t love an underdog, right? But they didn’t do so well and crashed out of the tournament. No problem though, as I’m also half English and they did a bit better (they’re still in it, as I write this, but we’ll see what happens tonight). Then another tiny country started doing well – Iceland. There are only just over 300,000 people on their whole island so for them to get this far was amazing. So of course, I had to cheer for them too!
I also live near the border with Wales, so how could I not root for them? Quite a dilemma when they played England, but still … (And – minor digression here – Gareth Bale has to have the most beautiful hair I’ve seen on a man in a long time!)
Portugal have a fantastic guy called Ronaldo, but as far as I could see he’s totally in love with himself – not the kind of guy I would admire no matter what his football skills are. So when he missed a penalty, I was thrilled – it was schadenfreude, pure and simple. Oh dear, this was getting seriously weird.
What’s this got to do with writing, you’re wondering? Well, thinking about it, I can see what’s happening here. It’s like when you read a book – you start off getting to know the characters and little by little, you decide which ones you like and then you root for them. It’s human nature to want to have favourites. If you don’t, there’s no point reading the story because you wouldn’t care about the outcome of it. The underdogs usually fit that category, while the ones who are not so nice, you hope they’ll get their come-uppance. Put simply – this football tournament is turning into a story for me with heroes and villains!
There have been last-minute goals that saved the day, just like in novels when the hero comes to the rescue at the very last moment. Unexpected players have emerged as heroes for their countries. There were disappointments too, of course, but then there can only be one winner. Who will it be? Well, finding out is the fun part – when reading you race towards the end hoping your chosen hero or heroine will save the day and have their happy-ever-after. Usually they do, but in sport it’s never quite that certain. I’m looking forward to seeing who wins this championship and who knows, I might even watch more football in future!? After all, for an author, there’s a lot of hero material out there on the pitch 🙂
Pia Fenton writes contemporary romantic YA stories and her Northbrooke High series features UK heroines clashing with US heroes in an American high school setting. The fourth in the series – New England Dreams – is now available for pre-order on Kindle