You guessed it, with the World Cup 2014 in full heat over there in Brazil, I was bound to get caught up in all the excitement about football. I promise I won’t rant on too long. Because, you know, there are many who can’t understand what all the fuss is about – it’s just 22 guys on a pitch kicking a ball around. Isn’t it?
Well, apparently it is. But deep down it seemingly has more meaning than at a first glance. Let aside the millions that are spent each year – heck each month – on football equipment, stadiums, and those blown-out-of-proportion salaries of the players themselves, this is a game which to the truest of fans is comparable to no other.
At one time or other, most people dream of visiting a stadium of a well-known team. Simply to indulge in the interior of this apparatus that spills out entertainment, thrill and excitement to fans of all ages.
It’s a different sensation being there, in the arena with thousands of fans cheering, yelling, screeching mostly profanities, but all the while living every moment. As if their lives depended on it. Because let’s face it, for the fanatics, when it’s football time, they are the ones who know best, how to play, how to score, how to be a coach. And endless rows and injuries have exploded over such trivialities. For some, football is more than just a game. It is a way of life.
Yet, there are some instances where this ballgame (not to be confused with America’s favourite pastime) actually unites – people, families, entire countries. Where a single victory by the squad of a small, financially devastated and austerity-crippled country can make an entire nation proud. Because for those few days or even hours, people manage to forget about their own problems and focus on something else. Something that perhaps values more – national pride.
No matter the outcome of any game – despite the swearwords, the profane hand-signals and the rage that may fill the crowd at first – fair play stipulates that all are acknowledged. For the goals, the saves, the game well played. And just when this huge party ends and we’ll return to reality and the routine once again, some will already be planning the next one. Because it’s not just the match. It’s the love of the game, and everything that comes with it. So, maybe it is not just a ball after all. Is it?