First of all – read this brilliant entry. I read it and it got the whole thing down to a tee so well I just had to share it here.
I am a recovering Football Manager addict – I was especially hooked on it during its incarnation as the proper Championship Manager before it got all split up and the good people went to FM whilst those with the name shrugged their shoulders and accepted mediocrity. I can testify that FM will dominate your entire life. I remember trying to play it two years ago and it was impossible. As in, as a married man with two young daughters (at that time, since then another one has popped up on the scene) there was just not enough time to commit to both – something had to give.
FM is a brilliant strategy game and also something to tug at the emotions. It never really needed the live action to make it any better because the hook is on seeing how successful you can make your team. How successful a manager you can be whether at the top clubs or starting with a lower club and building them up. Back in the university days when wife and children were not even a thought, I would merrily while away the hours on exploits with teams from the likes of Nottingham Forest to Wolverhampton Wanderers and the like. There wasn’t just the stuff on the screen, there was the stuff you made up in your head about it all the way to lectures or seeing a friend. There would made-up press conferences in my head about the progress of the team and the changes I’d make, etc. An entire world in itself keeping me occupied and never leaving a spare moment of boredom. I could never be bored by something so compelling, so enthralling, so invigorating.
Now as someone who used to worship football, it was bad enough having my emotions torn by the results of my beloved Liverpool. This was taking it to a whole new level. Success, awards and trophies would see me on cloud nine for days on end – I’d be beaming at everyone who were quizzical as to what was going on. Defeats, failures, complaints and missed opportunities would see me with a grumpy mood that would not be lifted by free meals at McDonald’s and a trip to the cinema. Tactical changes, personnel transfers, plans for the season to come, reviews on the season just passed – I could pass the time of day writing word documents on my accomplishments and best player ratings just to keep me amused. Yes, you can call it sad – because it is – but it kept me happy. I could also say it gave me a good eye for detail and assessing factors and problem solving as well, but that’s not really going to help on my CV. (“Yes Mr. Dryden, we’d love to employ you as manager of this centre because of your outstanding record guiding Glasgow Rangers to back-to-back Champions League victories.”)
So because of it’s all consuming nature, there was just no way that a relationship with a woman would work out at the same time as maintaining my love for the game. The two just could not go together. So I bade a fond farewell to the game when my relationship became more serious and despite efforts to sneak back in there to say hello, it just wasn’t happening.
I still get those hankerings from time to time though, when I get a weekend to myself, I am sorely tempted to just give the game one more try … just for a few hours … but of course I know it won’t just be a few hours – such is the obsession with the beautiful game!