THE Game.. and the emotions sometimes
"Buzzz" rang my phone... and I picked it up with all laziness.. I half opened my eyes to see who had messaged me and it was a pleasant surprise :) One of my frens.. Who I haven spoken to much.. But a good fren and an amazing person.. A true critic of my writing.. He reads every post diligently and gives me his frank opinion.. "Write something about football" read the message :) Well here is one for u dude.. Hope its a nice read :)
Some day in some month of the year 1998 , it was FIFA time.. This time the world cup was in France.. There was great excitement in the air .. It was my first year in Chennai.. I had jus left the place I loved so much.. Hyderabad .. and arrived at Chennai.. to my cousin's place... My parents were still at Hyderabad.. I came early since I was to join school..I had to stay at my aunt's place wid my cousin.
It was the n th time that he put that remote control down in frustration..The match was between Spain and Nigeria and I remember it so distinctly.. He was an ardent supporter of Spain... and the Score was 1-0.. Spain Vs Nigeria.. I went and sat next to him and said "Anna.. can we have dinner together ? " .. I don even know if he heard me.. He jus kept staring at the television , as if the idiot box and the horrible wild beasts chasing the small ball had cast a spell on him.. Minutes later ,Nigerians scored .. Some guy called jay jay or whatever was doing a good job and my cousin was abusing him in the filthiest of language..
I was feeling very lonely.. just then my uncle entered.. He has always been a very amiable and a jolly person.. I was waitin for him with bated breath to come and give me sometime and talk to me and ask me how my first day at school was.. To my horror he came and just sat on the sofa without even removing his shoes .. "Sharadha !! Get me some water and please can you serve dinner for Rajesh and me here ?? " .. My aunt who had been cooking her way to glory came and served dinner.. I thought she was as disinterested as I was about 11 ruffians chasing a zebra ball or whatever.. I was mistaken !!
Clingggg ........ fell the glass she was holding in her hand as the Nigerians scored a goal after 72 mins to level the score to 2-2.. Some player called zubizaretta (little did I know him then ppl !! )had committed an error and yekini s pass had helped Lawal score a goal.. and guess what !! The glass bowl that my dad gifted my aunt, was a price for the goal.. Damn !! Whats with football and this craze.. Did my cousin own the spanish team.. or was my aunt the official coach ?? Why were these ppl so bothered about some Spanish player not being able to defend the goal .. I just ate what was thrown in my plate..
Now the match was getting on to my nerves.. But I quietly started following their conversations.. Nigeria.. a team that was not really great or strong.. Spain.. Never defeated in 33 matches.. a giant.. a serious contender as always.. this is what I got from their conversations.. I was looking at the match too as I did not have anything els to do.. Football had robbed me of a nice bro who loved spendin tym wid me , of a good uncle who would probably be playin carrom wid me.. and my aunt who would cook so wel.. was jus making MOTHAMANA DHOSAI.. There was a sudden rush of excitement when a long throw into the Spanish box was cleared and the mid fielder hit a stunning first time volley , with the outside of his right boot (I did not know all these terms then.. All I knew was that a guy kicked the ball with his right leg and it went into some net and everyone shouted)and the goal gave Nigeria, a deserved victory...
Day after day the same routine followed and I was eating those thick dosais with people in the house followin the game religiously.. Spain , their favourite team , was outta the tournament in the group phase itself.. As the quarter finals came , the dosais were getting colder and drier.. Now I had to make a choice.. Either start loving the game by watching it intently and learning it or feel left out in the house.. So i went in for the first option.. I went and sat next to my cousin and started asking him about the game.. anythin related to football , he willingly explained.. and I started liking the game too..
This match was between Germany and Croatia and my bro was supporting the Germans.. They looked amazing in field (By this time , I had got a hang of the rules and the game.. ).. The first 40 mins of the match.. wow the Germans were so efficient.. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Croatia took the lead from a Robert Jarni goal during injury time in the first half, with a low 20-yard drive, and despite Oliver Bierhoff’s best efforts, the Germans couldn’t find an equaliser.. This game was getting too good and Croatia won it.. Wow !! An upsetting victory again
This is how I started liking the game.. Brazil vs Holland 4-2 Penalty match , France vs Brazil 3-0 match.. Wow.. amazing games to remember.. I started realising that there was more to the game than just sitting watching clapping or putting the remote down.. EMOTIONS.. Jay Jay Okocha , Thierry Henry , Michael Owen and Dennis Bergkamp.. They played their A**** off to glory.. Each of them taught me a lesson..It is after this emotional tinge in the game that i started loving the Korean 2002 tournament a lot.. Germany had a comeback of 8-0 against saudi after a disastrous 5-1 loss against England.. My interest and knowing of the game was getting better.. And boy football IS my favourite game now !!
There are differences between countries in the way fans express their emotions and behaviour, we ultimately all speak one language, the language of football... Football is associated with passion, emotion, excitement and dedication..To be a 'true' fan requires the 'living' experience of football. It is not about being a mere spectator — it is about being a participant.Football fans describe themselves as the 'twelfth man' — as essential to the success of the team as the players and coaching staff.Football is an important means for people to form and maintain strong friendships that might otherwise not exist. These social bonds between fans are so strong that many describe them in familial, kinship terms — 'my brotherhood' or 'my family'.
As I realised all this , I sit right now , watching the match between Brazil and Ivory coast. My poor sister is trying so hard to talk to me , as I did to my brother 12 years back.. I sit , nibbling at the biscuits as Fabiano scores a goal.. I Jumped up in joy and broke a china toy that she gifted me.. Well I now understand the secret behind the broken glass bowl.. Im sure she would understand too.. and yeah the Brazilians won the game hands down !!!
PS : Im not supporting any country here.. Jus supporting the game.. Jus remembered a few games and quoted them. I love the game and for the passion it conveys.. I watch it as a neutral spectator :)