The pre-birthday existential angst is manifesting itself in a whole new way this year. I've decided my new year's revolution is to choose and support a football team.
Too many Mondays in work and education, I've been unable to join in discussions about weekend matches. I don't know any managers now the cross Scottish one has left Man U. (I do actually know his name, it just slips my mind .... Fergie! That's the one! Either Alex or Alasdair Ferguson.)
And there's one whose name even sounds like his team ... Arsenal. Arsen Wenger?
I'm stumped when it comes to the off-side rule. I understand it in a diagram, but on the TV screen it happens too fast. I stare at the screen during a match, but I just follow the crowd's lead. Is this too honest? (I happen to know I'm by no means alone in doing this but I won't name names.)
Anyways, so I decided recently that I must not become a theological bore. I'm not musical, so the other fast-acting social glue available to me is football.
I know plenty of people who feign interest in the beautiful game in order to fit in. I never even bothered to. Figured, why should I be something I'm not? Better to be authentic, different if needs be.
I'll tell you why. Ministry. I need small talk in order to engage people without going straight for the theological jugular. Not for any dodgy, manipulative evangelizing purpose, but to be a well-functioning member of larger society.
So, this is the year I learn to appreciate football, and crucially, support a team. I never understood why people felt such loyalty to a team from a far-off city they have no link to, when their success depends on international financial transactions more than any sense of local pride. But I divert ...
I'm going to go the whole nine yards. Not a quirky European team, it's got to be an English premier league or first division team. I couldn't do Scottish football, far too sectarian.
So, if you have any suggestions other than Man United (I couldn't quite go that mainstream), for an as yet team-less fan, please tell me in no more than thirty words why your team deserves my support.