IT IS JUST A GAME!

     After all is said and done, being able to watch football and enjoy it is nothing short of a blessing. I get to see players file out, looking optimistic and ready to do business. And I also feel their energy especially when the match that is about to be played is a crucial one, like a match between clubs or countries with fierce football rivalry. You know, seeing those players filing onto the field gives this burst of energy and rush of adrenaline that you cannot help but think to yourself, “Wow, I can’t wait for this game to get started”.

 Some people are of the opinion that watching football, especially club football, is a waste of time. Some people enjoy both watching AND playing football. Others watch and do not play. But I have always wondered, are there people who play the game but do not watch it? I am just curious though. Football haters think it is really stupid watching, shouting (or screaming) and sweating (especially in viewing centres) for their beloved teams while the players make their money. I bet those who do not like football like some other sport like lawn tennis, basketball or even golf; and I am sure they sometimes watch these sports. It may be that their favourite tennis player is Federer or Djokovic; or maybe they love Tiger Woods or Ernie Els. But hating football and the fervour with which supporters follow the game, and going behind, so to speak to cheer Federer to victory in the U.S. Open does not mean that Federer has to say, “Erm…there’s this guy out there in a place called er…Nigeria. He does hate football and really supports me, and I think I’ll give him some of my money”. Heck NOOOO!!! Just like the football players are making their money, so also are the Federers, the Davidenkos, the Tiger Woods, the Dwayne Wades and the Tony Parkers. Simple logic!

 Now first of all, I am a football fan, and then I am a fan of Chelsea FC. I am a football fan and I love watching good football. I try to be objective while watching a football match. If Manchester United are playing better than Chelsea, I say so. If an opposing side deserves a free kick or a penalty kick, I say so. Because I support a team does not necessarily mean I have to be blind to the faults of that team. I watch football with an open mind and I do not get myself worked up if the game is not going the way I want it to. And if at the end of the game my team loses, I do not go looking lost and sour-faced. And for love’s sake, I definitely do not go lashing at anyone who offers his sympathies of even taunts me. I know of people who when their teams lose, they become violent, especially in public viewing centres. Some refuse to eat and some have been known to shed tears. I truly appreciate the fact that these people love their clubs passionately and are even ready to do anything for the love of Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, Lyon, and the whole rest of them. But at the end of  it all, IT IS JUST A GAME.

A game is meant to be enjoyed, right? And for God’s sake, I cannot and will not cry that a team I was supporting lost. No. just as footballers are evolving, the spectators and fans should also be doing the same. I’m not so sure but I think the last time I cried over a team was during France ’98.  You may think that because I am a female, I do not know ‘shin-shin’ about football. Well that is an erroneous thinking. I have always loved football since I was a little girl in primary school when I made sure there was a football in my school bag during the waiting-for-result-period after exams. Even though it does not matter how many decades and centuries you have been a football fan, the question is, have you developed mentally to accept the fact that football is just a game that is meant to be enjoyed?

You go to viewing centres and you see die-hard fans sometimes arguing blindly about an unnecessary fact. And sometimes even when the fanatics know something is true, they would disagree because agreeing would not favour their chosen clubs, and it would make them what… TRAITORS? Guys shout and talk (again sometimes rubbish) just for the sake of talking and so they can show the people present that they have got a loud voice. You hear them make a silly comment, so that everyone turns in their direction and almost always, one or two people take up the offer of challenging their statement. It is sometimes really annoying, but hey! It is all for the love of the game.

Football fans should strive to be objective in their criticism and analysis of events happening in the football world. Case scenario: A player in your favourite football team brutally hacks down an opponent in a rough tackle. If the referee blows against your team, he is blind and in fact, it’s ‘ojoro’; but if the decision goes your way, it’s a ‘nice tackle’ I may be a fan of Chelsea FC and dislike Rooney, but if he does something brilliant on the pitch, I applaud him. If I feel Cristiano Ronaldo is proud, it does not stop me from admiring his pace and strength. My being a fan of Chelsea FC doesn’t mean I cannot prefer Van Persie’s goal over say, Torres’ in terms of style and finish.

Football fans should please not get violent over a game. It is indeed painful when your team loses a game (especially an important one), but we should strive to control our emotions. Thankfully, I have gone beyond the stage where I would shed even a tear for any team (club or national) and it does not in any way, make me less of a fan because after all is said and done, IT IS JUST A GAME!

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