To most people, the thought of playing a football game that you don’t actually play is the most bizarre concept of all, only those bitten by the bug can sympathise when it takes over your life. For my own sanity as well as for the sake of loved ones, I do not buy each release, limiting myself to a new version every 3 years or so, simply for the fact that I know that it is not a healthy lifestyle choice in the slightest.
I treated myself to Football Manager 2012 just before leaving Oxford to live in New York, I knew that soccer would not be part of the way of life here as it is back home, and I was also planning on picking up a laptop and wanted a game I could play.
The all too familiar cracks in my psyche began to appear soon after installation and now I find myself firing up the game at every conceivable moment, I force myself out of bed early in the mornings to get some playing time in regardless of how fatigued I am (even writing this blog requires a gargantuan effort). If I were single I would probably awake with my face stuck to the laptop, which would have short-circuited from the tsunami of drool spilling from my mouth having no doubt dreamt of unearthing the next Lionel Messi (I did find one and he was lured away by a premiership club. Why did you leave me, Wang Ze, why?!).
I am hoping that by ridiculing myself I may come to my senses somewhat, I have other articles I plan to write, science lectures to watch, books to read and music to listen to, etc, etc. But I can't, I seemingly have to play this game, to the detriment of my life. Upon the release of one of the games (I think it was Football Manager 2005) I took a week off of work, with no other plans than playing the game, non-stop.
And in terms of results, if only the real-life Oxford could mimic my wizard-like achievements! Promotion in my first season (winning the league), followed by another promotion (second place finish) found me in the championship. A season of struggle was followed by a 9th place finish, before another runners-up spot now sees me in the premiership, I've got about 10 games of the season left and it looks like I might just about stay up!