Sitting in the cold wind on Sunday, eating a sausage on a stick and drinking a watery Steinlager, watching the Phoenix play the Mariners, I realised why it is that people enjoy football. Football is all about the denial of orgasm.
I was talking to a friend the other day and complained that I had missed the Phoenix's early goal against the Fury, and how the first game I had attended had been dull with no scores in the second half. He said, "it's not about the goals". I thought this was weird at the time, even though I've heard it before from football fans. Surely the point of the game is to score more times than the opposition.
However, it seems that fans like watching the players pass the ball around and almost score more than they like watching goals. A nil-all draw is fascinating or artistry while a four to nothing romp is merely fun.
And you can hear it in the crowd. They are enjoying the act too much; they really don't want the 30 seconds of enjoyment they get from a goal. They want to keep putting it off and putting it off. Each time there's a shot on goal the crowd's roar grows in anticipation, dies away with a moan and then is replaced with contented clapping.
This is what football fans crave, being constantly brought to the edge of celebration and then having that cruelly denied to them. I imagine this is why the sport is popular in Catholic countries.