By Patrick

Football is almost certainly my main special interest. Always a constant throughout my life but multifaceted in its nature. I not only watch football on TV, go to matches or listen to it on the radio but I also talk about it whenever and wherever possible and spend many an hour on football computer games. Outside of this I have few interests and hobbies hence I can see why my behaviour might be labelled by some as “restricted” and “repetitive”.

The positives of having this interest throughout my life are relatively easy to identify.

For one, an interest that could be described as “mainstream” helped me to make and retain friendships both at school and university.

I also use my knowledge of football such as tactics, players, and statistics to articulate or explain concepts in my day to day life.

Bizarrely, I have also noted that previous football matches I have watched act as a memory aid, allowing me to recall memories of what I was doing at that particular time in my life or as a marker for significant events such as weddings, births or even deaths. The knowledge of being able to watch a game of football on TV on an evening after a difficult day at work can lift my mood but can also lead to distress and conflict with family members when commitments and football unexpectedly overlap.

I also look back at the amount of time I spent particularly as an adolescent playing football computer games such as FIFA, Championship manager and Pro evolution as a waste of time in terms of missing out on developing new skills, spending time with others and learning other important life lessons which I am probably just experiencing now as I enter my mid-thirties. But on other occasions playing these games (as I still do today) and reminiscing about them provides me with a sense of relaxation or stress reduction especially when I am feeling extremely anxious and unsettled.

So there you are. Football is my special interest or restricted and repetitive behaviour. For good or for bad or as a mix of the two, it has had a significant impact on shaping my life and the person I am today.

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