Football and men

Two weeks ago Euro 2012 kicked off. To avoid being ignored by my male friends for too long, I self-invited to join some of my Dutch buddies watching Holland vs.

Germany match. I think (or used to think) that I’m a professional football fan. My love affair with the sport dates back to my early teens, when I started collecting player cards, and still recall how the handsome Italian players cards were always in shortage. For players like Del Piero, I not only knew their height, weight and favourite this-and-thats, but also kept myself well-updated on their market value and relationship status. By intentionally telling my history with football to my friends, I expected to be counted as one of them. However, not only didn’t my story resonate with them, but worse, they shot down each bit of my effort, disdainfully. In the end, I was left feeling grateful that they’d made an exception by letting me watch the game with them.

On match day, we agreed to gather at one of the guys’ place. When I arrived, the game just started, with guys comfortably seated with beers in hand. After Holland’s earlier loss to Denmark, I could feel the subtle tension in the air. Any teasing about their team, no matter how innocent or playful, wouldn’t be appreciated by my friends; therefore, I decided to make as few comments as possible. Fifteen minutes into the game, the Dutch players hadn’t got themselves into the right state, but my friends definitely had. One moment they were instructing everybody on the field where to go, the next expressing frustration that they couldn’t call the coach and demand he change a certain player. I felt sorry my friends couldn’t be at the stadium, but if throwing themselves into the TV screen would help, they’d do it without a second thought.

After the German star striker scored the second goal of the first half, my Dutch friends couldn’t hold out any longer, spilling out F-words at the Dutch defence. One guy claimed the ‘game is over’ and swore he couldn’t care less about the rest of the game,

although he was the first one back on the coach for the second half. After Holland was finally defeated, the guys decided to drown their disappointment in bottles of beer.

Having seen my friends’ moods being tossed around like roller coaster ride, I wondered why men are so obsessed with football. Later, while watching some game highlights, it suddenly occurred to me that it’s the speed and strength behind each kick, pass and shoot. It’s the sweat and tears displayed on the field. It’s the moment when adrenaline explodes. The football pitch as

battlefield. When the whistle blows, people fight for victory. While men are ‘evolving’ into more delicate, gentle and sensitive creatures nowadays, maybe football is one of the few things that still reminds them of how they used to be, if only for 90 minutes.

Lei Li, from Shanghai, China, is recent MSc graduate in science communication.

She can be contacted at: LeiLivanShanghai@gmail.com

Redacteur Redactie

Heb je een vraag of opmerking over dit artikel?


Comments are closed.