Monday, September 07, 2009

The theory of pessimistic hopefulness and its application to international football

I mentioned on the show today that, in my opinion, the best approach to Scotland's crunch World Cup qualifier with Holland on Wednesday was pessimism. This was born of the hideous, depressing experiences I have had in my life of actually supporting, optimistically, Scotland's national socceristas in their quest for glory.

It works this way: Assume abject defeat, and a proud, slight defeat with flickers of talent becomes tremendously pleasing. Assume abject defeat and a draw inculcates rosy euphoria. Assume abject defeat and victory is the greatest pleasure anyone can know outside of a 1974 Gordon and Macphail Ardbeg (from the cask).

Assume abject defeat and get abjectly defeated, and you lose nothing. You are in a state of emotional and spiritual balance.Your yin has been well and truly yanged.

Now this may all sound a tad...well, defeatist. In fact, the head of Radio Scotland, Jeff Zycinski, gently chided me today in an email, though I am certain that in his heart of hearts he knows the power of pessimism, or negative optimism. His argument is that pessimism does not play well on the radio. Which may well be true. Like Scotland not playing well in away games.

But the power of pessimism is in its ability to protect passionate hopefulness. If we cower in doom and gloom, it is only to guard the sliver of wishing-for-victory that has been battered so many times in the past. It's healtheir.

The other thing to do is stop my wife, Susan, watching the match, as whenever she does, Scotland lose.

It's scientific. I can prove all this. Come away the Tulip Eaters! All together, Scotland! Assume Abject Defeat! Or Assume Abject Annihallation! AAA!

6 comments:

chools said...

It's nice thought Tom, but another 'ism' is that of realism and despite the nation crossing fingers and toes and dusting off the lucky rabbit's foot we're going to get stuffed (Again).
But true to form we'll all be ready to cheer at the next game, won't we?

norm said...

Susan watched!?

Susan said...

Another glorious defeat.
We nearly made it- well we were in command for the fist 82 minutes. We deserved to win- undoubtedly, but we didn't, as usual.
I didn't watch it this time, nor Andy Murray, and we still lost.

Susan said...

Susan

Tom Morton said...

...only for the final 15 minutes...

kenseaton said...

We give too much of our lives to football - and the highly-paid players are not delivering. I'm in the south of France and the local paper has three pages of football (Nice, Monaco, Marseille) and three pages of other sports: basketball, netball, swimming, rugby etc. They seem to place more value on results here...