Back in my tenth standard, I used to be an ardent follower of football. A fan of Chelsea Football Club, I even knew the names of all the players on the reserve team.
I was watching a Chelsea game at 2am one night, and we were (naturally) losing very badly, when I asked myself the question on every nihilist’s mind, “What’s the point?”
What was I gaining by watching a football match at 2am, being played by two clubs thousands of miles away, when I had no clue about my chemistry paper for the next day? Am I a stake-holder in ‘my’ team? Will my opinion ever matter to the team? Even if it does, how does that help me?
Yes, it did feel great on days Chelsea beat some of the big teams. That gave me bragging material for the next day at school. But then I realized, objectively speaking, I was just bragging over something I virtually had no control over! Neither did I decide the team roster, nor did I formulate strategy, forget ever spending a buck on them. It made no logic to me.
It is as stupid as you feeling overjoyed when your boss’ son gets accepted into an Ivy League college. You had nothing to do with it, and you stand to gain nothing from it.
At the risk of sounding condescending, I feel amused every time I see people on Facebook put up long and emotional statuses about how well ‘their’ team played, and how overjoyed they were with the victory. I do not understand the point of this. When we virtually had no role in the victory, what are we actually gloating over? Do we honestly expect the Outreach Manager of United to read our passionate outbursts on Twitter and recruit us?
The only reason we can have for celebrating is that we picked the right team to support.
Let’s look at how we, as Indians, decide which team to support.
Half of us support United because they win half the time. A quarter of us choose between Real Madrid and Barcelona depending on whether we find Ronaldo cooler or Messi. The rest toss coins to choose among Arsenal (“Oh I am a Gooner since the days of Thierry Henry”), Liverpool (“Oh look at the number of trophies we have”) and Chelsea (“Coz Jose Mourinho ya”).
I’ll be fair here, the adrenaline rush you get when Torres runs past David De Gea (and the frustration you feel when he misses that empty goal) can barely be found in other sports.
But the cost at which it comes is often too high. You could have spent those two hours doing anything else: sharpening your mind (AKA, watching Sherlock), broadening your horizons (AKA, smirking to racist jokes), and exploring what others like to watch (AKA, going incognito). And if you feel like you’re missing out on what’s going on in the footballing world, hey, you’ll always have your classmate’s elaborate posts on why Arsene Wenger’s strategy was doomed from the beginning!
artwork by Ramblr.