I’m not an avid soccer fan… in fact I don’t watch it. Well I watch World Cup if that counts and we all know how many times that takes place! Quite recently I started watching live matches of my church league. Each month has a team to support and since it’s all part of the fun I go to the pitch to encourage my team. For EPL, La Liga and Spanish league fans and supporters out there, I know I’m not to be reckoned with. I make no apologies and still find that I can do without good old football.
Despite not being an avid follower or supporter of any of the clubs but because of my recent encounter with the game I’ve come to understand why people’s emotions tend to ride high when their teams are playing. The bad calls by the referees, dives by players, unsportsmanlike behaviour of other club players et al is quite understandable. What I simply don’t get on the other hand is the extreme euphoria of some fans. We’ve all read about husbands, boyfriends etc being uncommunicative during matches (especially if the tide’s against their club) and others getting violent to the point of murder. Violent clashes of opposing fans are common in Europe and Britain.
Unfortunately more instances where tragedy occurs because of these extreme emotional conditions is on the rise in Nigeria. Fans are so intoxicated (with the high of winning or other substances) that they either get injured or die. We know how okada riders celebrate such victories, loudly revved engines, flashing lights and highs speeds through traffic! Some drivers behind the wheels of cars also exhibit these traits and a domino down side of supporting the Blues, Barca, ManU (or others) results.
I believe that emotions demonstrate our humanity and it’s good to be in touch with them. On the other hand, we also have cold reason that guides, it balances our emotions. Reason ensures that we protect ourselves and others when things happen and it’s also very useful in our daily lives. It dictates that we proceed with caution in some instances and tells us to desist in others. This balance is susceptible to the level of some substances (e.g. alcohol, prescription drugs, illicit drugs etc) in the system and the higher the level the more unreasonable the person.
Thus, the situation where the fans or supporters watch the matches and imbibe alcohol (and the like) makes for a dangerous combination. This potent mix and heightened emotions is tense at the least and volatile at best. So, arguments, fights and other methods of flexing masculinity occur and ugly is a good word to use when things spin out of control.
The opposing players exchange jerseys and shake hands after a match. If they happen to be friendly may even go for a drink or bite when the match is over. I’m not sure their rivalry extends off the pitch. Personally, I’m perplexed on the other hand when people thousands of miles and on the other side of the world get violent. How does it improve your life? How does it help you or your family? What does it add to your bottom line or character when you act so outrageously?
Celebrate if you must, but everything in moderation. Football is a sport that many love and I believe it’s also an emotional outlet for many that appreciate it. Moderation should be the key when wins or losses occur…after all whether you’re sad or happy it doesn’t really affect the Drogbas, Torres, Lampards and Messis over there!