The Norwegian and I like watching football. It is one of the many ways he is a lucky husband. A woman nagging while the match is on is something he doesn’t have. One of the reasons I enjoy watching football is that I understand the rules and so know why things are happening. It makes for a harmonious household during the 2016 Euros and any World Cup you happen to mention.
My understanding of the offside rule, for example, means I get much more out of watching the match du jour. It is such a cliché that women don’t understand the offside rule that I hesitate to even bring it up. My way of explaining it highlights a crucial difference between men and women. I explain the offside rule by explaining why it exists, rather than how it works. I’ve seen men trying to explain the offside rule using salt and pepper pots to illustrate the position of players, phrases like direction of play and ‘The second to last defender determines the offside area’ are thrown about with gay abandon much to the confusion of the person trying to understand it.
So if you don’t know how the offside rule works, and you want to, hold on and after I’ve told you the story of Mustapha and Bogy Nicky, you will understand.
I used to play football at primary school. My class played against the other class in our year every lunch time. We played in an enclosure called the cage. It was a pretty evenly matched contest. We had some good players and so did they. We also unfortunately had a goalie, Mustapha, with a very short attention span who would entertain himself by doing handstands during lulls in play. Bogy Nicky, so called because he had a seemingly permanent crust of bogy around his nose which stood in stark contrast to his deep dark brown skin. So Bogy Nicky would hang around by the goal and when Mustapha started doing handstands, Bogy Nicky would yell and someone would kick the ball to him and he would often score.
And the offside rule is in place to stop the Bogy Nickys of this world, to stop people hanging by the goal. It says a player needs to be between Mustapha and Bogy Nicky before Bogy Nicky can play the ball.