Why do I find watching football on TV so relaxing? (That’s soccer, by the way, America.)
It’s a nice brain in neutral activity, much like cartoons, but I think there’s a little more to it.
I suspect it’s got something to do with the physics of motion – the curve of the ball as it rises and falls in perfect curves and parabolas, the pauses as we wait for it to fall back to earth, all controlled by the physical laws at the foundations of our existence.
It’s very zen, meditative, everything in suspense, a moment of aporia as the ball falls to earth, at which point proceedings will resume and meaning re-engaged. And of course this takes place in the context of a game, itself an extended moment of suspense until the result is known.
And on TV, three dimensions are flattened into two, which also has an effect – abstracting the curves in some way, making the whole experience a little more unreal, dreamlike. The flattening also means the ball often seems to travel more slowly – it travels through three dimensions, but we see only two, enahancing the dreamlike quality of the experience.
Anyway, whatever the reasons, I find it very relaxing.
Of course these days it’s much more relaxing being a Chelsea supporter than ever before. We rarely lose or concede. Especially compared to the nervy games of previous years (i.e. before Jose Mourihno).