August 2018

Watching the footieWatching the footie

I'm not a football supporter. My wife is not a football supporter. My four-year-old daughter – who can hoof a ball over a five-foot fence – is not a football supporter. Through a general lack of interest in the competitive game, I'm ashamed to say we all missed England's opening match of the World Cup, which is apparently an important footballing event. But as the nation's hopes were raised, and as Tunisia and Panama succumbed to the prowess of Kane and Co, so too did the three of us succumb to the excitement of the prospect that football could be coming home.

I don't need to tell you how that story ends. But I do think it's worth pointing out that, despite the edge-of-the-seat enjoyment that comes from supporting a winning team (Croatia and Belgium match excepted), I have no desire to watch any other games until 2022, or perhaps 2020. In the same way you can find yourself watching rhythmic gymnastics during the Olympics and never see another ribbon-assisted dance performance for four years, the World Cup offers those devoid of any passion for football the chance to take part in a celebration of the beautiful game. In short, some events are more than the event themselves.

That's not a concept unique to international sporting competitions. It's not even unique to sport, or to the international stage, for that matter. Wanstead has it's own fair – perhaps even unfair – share of larger-than-life events: Music in Wanstead Park, Art Trail Wanstead, Wanstead Fringe and Wanstead Festival spring – as quickly as Jordan Pickford – to mind. And they each strike – as accurately as Kieran Trippier – the right chord with their community of fans. No need to chant for anything to come home to Wanstead... it's already all here.