Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Despite All My Rage

... I am still just a rat in a cage. Victoria Coren made an interesting point in an interview she did recently (there's a link to the interview in the blog). When asked if poker was addictive, she said that it wasn't because you have some control over the outcome, whereas blackjack and roulette are far more addictive because (card counting aside) there's basically nothing you can do but put your bets down and hope.

It had never occurred to me that this is a big part of why watching football is so addictive too. It's the random jolts of pleasure and pain. Say you have your lab rat in a cage with a button to press. For a while, it gives out food. Then it gives an electric shock. Pretty soon the rat will stop pressing it despite the fact that it previously gave out food. Now you take another rat and give out food/shocks randomly for a bit. Then switch to just shocks. The rat will keep pressing it forever. This is fact by the way, scientific fact [1]. In football, not only do you have your random wins and losses, you can watch the game and have your pleasure/pain hits of goals for/against, and then you can watch all the games funking for someone depending on how you bet or just how much you hate each particular team/manager ... it seems endless.

I'm trying to wean myself off it, basically. The best way is to just go and do something else when the games are on, and see how they turn out afterwards. It's not easy on a night like last night when I was sat at home with no other games on, and on Saturday I was actually at the game (having rashly pre-bought tickets for 4 games throughout the season) suffering every kick. Maybe I'd be singing a different tune if I'd been at a couple of the games where QPR whacked someone else for 4 or 5 this season, instead of the only two home defeats (bok), then again it's just another peak or trough in the endless graph. It's pretty annoying that on Friday and Monday afternoon I played a great round of golf (2 out of my best 3 ever), only to allow myself to be knocked off my cloud because one team of over-paid hired guns lost to another, and I think, for me, it has to stop.

[1] By which I mean I read it somewhere and it suits my argument.


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