University was a bit tricky for me,
being a football fan
doing a philosophy degree.
It meant I had a diverse circle of friends
from different ends
of the spectrum of beliefs.
On one side there was Hugh,
an epistemological rationalist thinker
who toyed with the idea of solipsism,
and then there was Dave…
a Newcastle United fan.
The pub was never fun
when we all went out.
A few pints of lager,
a chat about life.
Lively discussions were… difficult.
On one side Hugh is telling me,
Augustine’s argument is fundamentally flawed
and, although logically true,
I’d rather take Kierkegaard’s view,
because any belief in a transcendental being
is essentially an irrational belief; however, the existence
of a god is the crux for all western philosophy.
And Dave says,
There’s definitely a god,
you’ve just gotta believe in him.
There’s definitely a god
and his name is Kevin Keegan.
Though since he left United,
I think I’d agree with Nietzsche
that God is dead.
It was difficult to have conversations
that they both understood
without Hugh becoming patronising,
or Dave just taking the piss.
I’d be having two conversations simultaneously,
assessing the results from Saturday
whilst pontificating and picking at Plato.
Dave occasionally picked on Hugh:
You’re all the same, you soft Southern intellectual types
ALL GENERALISATIONS ARE DANGEROUS – EVEN THIS ONE.
THAT’S A QUOTE FROM EMERSON.
He’s doing quite well at Deportivo La Coruña
but I never really rated him at ’Boro.
It was hard to get Hugh and Dave to speak, let alone agree,
but they both really rated Socrates,
one for his teaching of Plato
and one for that overhead kick against Mexico.
One day Hugh was asking me about the influence of the Continentals on the modern-day school of thought
when Dave butts in:
Well, they’ve got a lot of skill, like, them continentals,
but I can’t abide all that divin’.
I remember the day when it all changed,
the day that Dave
told us some French-Algerian philosopher,
he couldn’t remember his name,
Dave told us that this guy was also a professional goalkeeper,
and that this guy claimed that
in his ten years between the posts
he learned more about life
than he did in a lifetime
pondering the meaning of life.
He said we should stop asking questions
that can never be answered,
find a team to support and
start reading the sports sections
of newspapers rather than philosophical journals.
So we did.
I still support Leeds,
and Hugh, quite predictably,
coming from Middlesex,
supports Manchester United.
Dave now lectures at Newcastle University on the influence of deconstructionism on modern-day football management.
It’s a funny old game – philosophy.