Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Football and happiness

Would I be better off if England were simply to drop out of the World Cup at the group stage?  If it is clear from the very beginning that they are poor, they lose to the USA, and we all give up the hope that they will make even the round of the last 16, then at least we won't have the hope...  It's the hope that's the problem, since there is an overwhelming probability that the hope will be dashed.  And it will probably be dashed i frustrating way, by a mistake, a poor refereeing decision, a missed penalty.

This post asks what would be the best outcome for a supporter's happiness: obvious and early failure or eventual failure further on in the tournament, or winning the tournament.  It suggests that if England were to win the World Cup, this would not in fact be better for a supporter's longer term well-being.  (Lottery winners, apparently, report short-term elation and then longer-term frustration and unhappiness.)  It also suggests that supporters react more positively to the game and the result if they watch in a group.

So, if you think you could cope with the longer-term frustration at wondering what next for a world-champion England football team, then let's still hope and cheer them on.  But even if you do, then it's better to make sure you don't watch the games on your own.  Or listen to Clive Tyldesley .

For now, here is a woeful World Cup 'song', by Rick Mayall.

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