Excitement, joy and cheers are what watching football games is all about. Screaming, jumping up and down and wracking nerves make football the number one sport in the world. Every four years, the FIFA World Cup is held and there is no doubt it has a huge fan base. The goose bumps start during the national anthem. The feeling of patriotism strikes your body and you feel a tingling in your toes that reaches every part of your body. Even if you are jobless, homeless and your country hasn’t been kind to you, at this moment your country will become the most magnificent nation in the world to you.
If your country didn’t make it to the World Cup and it happens that you support a specific country or team, your love and loyalty for this team will make you memorize and even sing the anthem along with the players.
Football is a global game for so many reasons. No matter from what background you are, rich or poor, you can play football. No matter what color your skin is, black or white, you can play football. No matter from which country you come from, Third World or First World, you can play football. No matter where you are, in the house or street, you can always manage to make space and play football. It is a universal game that can unite rivals and make them meet in the middle for the love of this incredible game. On the day that your team is playing, the intense and strong energy in the field when people get together with all their differences is unexplainable.
But this game is a double-edged sword – as much as it is beautiful, it can also be ugly. It’s so powerful that it can be deadly sometimes. After the 1994 World Cup, Colombian defender Andres Escobar was shot six times to death because he accidently deflected the ball into his own net while playing against the United States, which caused Colombia to be eliminated. Five days after the match, he was murdered.
Another shocking incident happened in Lebanon two weeks ago when 25-year-old Mohammad Zaher was stabbed to death for celebrating the victory of his favorite team Brazil in a knockout match and after criticizing Germany over how they did not play well against South Korea. The attacker was a Germany fan who didn’t take it lightly and stabbed him to death.
According to DW.com, during this year’s World Cup, at least two separate incidents have been reported from the United Kingdom. In one, a football fan was thrown off a car hood; in the other, British football fans smashed glasses and caused mayhem in a pub. The Russian press has also reported disruptive fans creating a nuisance in stadiums. In the past, worse has happened. A French policeman suffered brain damage after being severely beaten by German fans in 1998’s France versus Germany match.
Although Indians are known for their love of cricket, this charming game was able to take the life of Dinu Alex Andto, a 30-year-old Argentina football fan from Kottyam in Kerala. Andto was devastated after his beloved team Argentina was defeated by Croatia and committed suicide. He jumped into a river, leaving behind a suicide note that read: “Nothing is left for me to see in this world. I am leaving. Nobody is responsible for my death.”
It is only a few days before the end of the 2018 World Cup, and hopefully this powerful game will spread nothing but positivity, kindness and acceptance between humans, whatever the results are. Whether you are feeling angry because your team lost or bliss because your team scored and win, try to have a positive attitude. After all, football makes everyone equal in sadness or happiness. So let us respect each other’s victory or defeat. And yes, there is no doubt that football is a game of passion and culture, but it can also be a game to die for. Who will win the 2018 World Cup? Is it France or Croatia? Honestly I support both teams but there is only one team bringing the cup home and may the best team win. Good luck.
By Sahar Moussa