So, let's start again:
One of my illogical emotional attachments causes me to cling, limpet-like, to Arsenal and their particular interpretation of 'the beautiful game. I am, of course, talking football. Or I was, for it seems that these days, I am not just talking about Football (the capital f is to indicate that I am talking about the sport that the rest of the world calls football), but also football (rugby league) and football (Australian Rules Football, also known as 'footy').
Conversations around sport over here seem to be needlessly confusing. Yes, there is the argument that if the rest of the population call rugby league 'football' then it is me who is wrong, for language is merely an agreed set of names used to describe objects, activities and emotions.
Maybe I am too closely wedded to logic, but Football is
obviously 'foot' and 'ball' coming together, as they do throughout most of the
game. Yes, they occasionally apply a boot to the ball in rugby league, but the
puck often hits a skate in ice-hockey, and they don't call that footpuck (nor is boxing called 'facepunch', come to that).
Moral high-ground suitably occupied, that might have been job done. But then there's 'footy'. Australian Rules confuses things, because they do kick the ball (they also do a weird 'hand-kick' thing called handballing, but we'll gloss over that). It's also a bit bonkers, and certainly makes for an exciting spectator sport, so it's possible I may end up attending the odd game in a bid to get a fix of live sport (there is Australian 'A-League' soccer, but I've tried on TV and the standard falls short of the Premier League, making the games frustrating to watch).
In an effort to acclimatise to life in Australia, and in order to reduce the risk that I might blight my children for life, I decided to purchase one of those strange shaped balls. So, meet the Sherrin footy; an oval shaped ball that resembles a rugby ball with slightly rounded ends. For matchplay, the ball is usually red, or yellow for floodlit games, and larger than the kids' ball I bought to fast-track Felix on the road to sporting excellence.
We started modestly; catching and punching the ball, as my kicking skills are rather weak these days, and Felix isn't ready to start kicking the ball out of his hands. Things were progressing well until the identity of the ball came into question. Instead of a piece of sporting equipment, it was now 'a hedgehog', and a tired hedgehog at that.
The hedgehog was put to bed on the swing...
but apparently he struggled with getting to sleep so I was called upon to rock him gently backwards and forwards...
Once asleep, the hedgehog was transferred carefully to the ground, where Felix joined him for a rest.
The whole episode confirmed my worst suspicions; change the shape of a football and the whole of sporting civilisation quickly unravels. However, I refuse to be defeated, and I am intending to found the world's first Sleepy Hedgehog League. And you can call it whatever you bloody well like...