Do we want to suffer for our team?
As the summer is starting to come to a close and the fall months are quickly approaching around the world, fans are gearing up for the new season. They’re dusting off their jerseys, getting new fan gear and preparing for the long winter months of suffering! That’s right I said suffering, because odlly, it is probable that most fans will suffer more over the season than be elated just purely on the fact that one team has to win and one team has to lose and in the end in an entire league only one club can come out victorious. Meaning the rest have lost and are probably devastated.
There are varying degrees of fans. From die-hard, get a tattoo of the club/player, to always buying season tickets and spending thousands to travel to away games to the band wagon fan and occasional supporter and everything in between. For many, the band wagon fan is easy to understand. You’re a fan when your team is winning, or you pick a team that is winning to be a fan of, but for the others, those true believers football becomes much, much more.
No Longer Just a Game
For these devoted fans the game becomes much more serious, no longer just a game played in parks for a little laugh. It can take on the role of religion or somewhere in that vicinity. Therefore it is no wonder that people “suffer” for it. Just like many different religions around the world that have a period of suffering or believe suffering on earth leads to eternal salvation, so do some football fans. There are rituals and superstitions that fans abide by. Going to a certain place to watch the game, or the build-up to watching a live match. Once in the stadium many chant and sing possibly with orchestrated dance moves that may have never been written, you just know what to say and when, in a unison orchestra of fellow believers. And like religion, football expects certain things from it’s followers, Loyalty and Dedication, being at the top of the commandments. Sometimes this loyalty is completely blind because you start the season knowing your team doesn’t even have a Leicester City 2015/16 chance start of season with a 5,000 to 1 shot of winning anything, or even staying in that division, but you nail bitingly follow the scores hoping that just maybe this season your club is that one in a million Leicester City team. But none the less you don your scarf, sing your songs and march to the stadium to pray that your team somehow comes out alive if nothing else.
Masochists at Heart
Thus, my conclusion is that deep down we are all a little masochistic and take an odd pleasure from the suffering our team gives us. Maybe it’s the known in a world that is ever changing and so unknown. Maybe it is the collective. This feeling of despair and pain is not solitary but shared amongst fellow supporters and fills a gap that in todays society we want so badly to fill. Maybe it’s a need to show the world that we can be loyal to one thing, an unwavering dedication when today we can change partners like we change clothes. Or maybe it just is what it is, IT’S FOOTBALL.
If the psychology behind this interests you continue on and read this by @bleacherreport
Like always I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Religion of Football. Which club to you believe in? Do they give you more suffering or joy?