Football is quite simply the biggest and most-loved sport in the world. The pure passion, excitement and ecstasy of the game that lasts for just 90 minutes is unrivalled and unparalleled on the planet. So much so, that people tend to see the ugly side of supporting the beautiful game.
Shining light on this touchy topic makes feel me feel a bit uneasy and uncomfortable, especially because I am a football fan. People’s passion for the game occasionally crosses the line in so many cases, especially during the mother of all footballing tournaments which comes along every four years – the FIFA World Cup. Time and again, we see fans going overboard about supporting a country at the tournament, which seems to be the general case keeping in mind India’s dismal performances in the qualifiers. And in all probability, India’s performance will not change in the near future, either.
People in our country raise banners, tie up foreign flags, paint themselves in the colours of their liking – all to support a country once every four years! Fans get too passionate and intense – and even engage in all-out violence and maddening levels of idiocy every time the World Cup comes around. This time, after the latest round of results in the group stages, fans have shaved their heads, paraded around in shame and even committed suicide (yes, you read that right) – all because the team/country/players they were supporting and cheering for lost a game.
A related incident I want to share is that of a fan near my locality who got electrocuted while trying to lash an Argentinian flag across the roof of his house. His chances of survival are very less. The naivety of such fans are truly brought into perspective when their family’s plight is brought into the paradigm. One can only sympathise with the next-of-kin of those fans who took supporting a game to dangerous levels.
The great Bill Shankly once said, “Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.” For the large majority of passionate fans, football does mean a lot more than just a game played on a grass-field but. However, as is the case always, there is a minor few who simply do not know when to put the cap on.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.