Sunday August 24 2014

Games more macho than football


In this football season, it is not just about the Premiership League but other games like rugby. 

It is the time of the year again when the hordes of fans of English Premiership football come out and invade our space. Like a swarm of locusts, which have been hibernating since May when the league ends, they are all over the place, in every nook and cranny when and where they can get a TV. This may be in the neighbourhood kafunda, a high-end bar in a hotel, at a neighbour’s or just at home.

When it is time for football, nothing matters. If they are at the neighbourhood joint, they ask the bartender to change the channel to what the “action” is in disregard of what the other patrons were watching. There is no courtesy. If they are at home, they will commandeer the remote control at times hours before the game begins.

And Lord have mercy if it is a big game, mbu Man United v Chelsea, you will see them in their blue and red jerseys all over town…men, it is just a football match, it is over in 90 minutes. And those Spanish football fans who think every match is a classic (el classico)…let us not even go there!

Often, I have been in situations where I’m put to task when I’m not on this Euro football “drug”. For God’s sake, I cannot name even five players. The usual response is men are into football, like it is macho thing to be a football fan, and to have players’ names and info like their weekly wages on your fingertips.

I’m a man and do not like football. There are other sports outside this “soccer cocoon”, which guys are boxed in, that are just as macho.

If I wanted to follow men with balls scoring between posts, there is rugby. Unlike soccer where it is always 11 a side, there is the option of seven a side or 15 a side depending on the competition or rules. Also, unlike soccer where only the goal keeper can pick up the ball, rugby players use their feet and hands, ram into and pull each other to stop the opponent from getting to the goal.

It is very aggressive and competitive; it is exciting to watch and will get those juices flowing. For good measure, in Uganda, we have vibrant rugby leagues and competitions going on to keep you as occupied throughout the year. The icing on the cake is that rugby attracts women in droves and beer is somehow always available at the venue. Fun, both on and off the pitch.

Up the scale on that lust for aggressiveness is boxing, wrestling or kickboxing. Nothing comes more macho than that. It is so raw and rough that you will find few women watching people punch or kick each to submission. Cut eyelids and bursted lips are not their cup of tea but for most men, it just feeds and fuels that basic instinct that make us want more of it. You can catch the action on the regular on TV in healthy doses. And thanks to Moses Golola, we can add kickboxing to the menu.

Then, what gets better than our fascination with man and machine. For ages, human beings have always raced against each and devised faster ways to do so. Whether it is rally cars or motorbikes, we will be there follow them on the course or track. Imagine a rally car flat out at 180kph along the some dirt road, the thrill of watching them and the adrenaline rush it gives us. It is about who is the big boy of them all.

There’s is always one challenge or the other. it has been argued by some of those who have been elsewhere that Uganda has one of the most passionate rally fans in the world. You only have to be there to get what I’m saying.