Suffering, Religion, And Football a New Season Approaches

LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 28: Leeds United fans show a banner to the players at the end of the Coca-Cola Championship match between Leeds United and Ipswich Town at Elland Road on April 28, 2007 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

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?



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Arianna Criscione
Arianna was born and raised in the United States, the suburbs of Los Angeles to be exact, after which she studied at UCLA and Boston College. After her collegiate career she became a professional footballer having played in Italy, France, Sweden, Netherlands and Norway, along with some caps with the Women's Italian National Team, and appearances in the Women's Champions League, while at the same time developing an entrepreneurial spirit and having some business development experience. Her passion for football has allowed her to see the world and she hopes to share some of this experience through the blog.


  1. This whole suffering theme is very current now with Coronavirus outbreak. It is super important to keep for everyone to get past this and get the football season back into normal. It’s super important to wash our hands, keep our houses clean and social distance. I can’t stress enough the point about home cleaning. Even if you have to hire some cleaning service, go for it.


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