Everything about football is so abstract. In which case ….Why do we follow it? What does it give us? How does it get such a strong grip on our lives? Why does it matter?
From the time I was hooked as a Spurs supporter I have found myself occasionally wondering why I was so obsessed by twenty-two people (which these days, could be twenty-eight) chasing a piece of leather around a bit of grass. Logically it doesn`t make sense. Logically it shouldn`t matter. But, as I`ve often said, ‘logic` and ‘football` in the same sentence doesn`t really work.
No matter how much thought I`ve put into these questions over the years, I`ve never been able to find any reasonable answers. Is football an addiction? It certainly appears that the longer a person supports a club, the stronger the connection to that club becomes. And it`s fairly apparent that supporters, in the true sense of the word, very rarely support more than one club during their lives.
Of course it could be viewed simply as an enjoyable interest …. except for the fact that it is not always enjoyable! Materialistically, football gives us nothing that would reinforce our motivation to follow it. So it must satisfy us emotionally. But, emotionally, football can shower us in hope, despair, elation, frustration, joy, fear, and anger. Why do we choose to make something that can affect us so emotionally, and to such extremes, such a meaningful part of our lives.
Playing football makes sense …. increased physical fitness, being part of a team, an outlet for excess energy, social possibilities, are all healthy reasons to pursue an activity. But, just watching a game of football satisfies none of these reasons, with the exception of the social aspect which is often a family legacy or can be enjoyed with friends.
So, I can only assume that it has to be emotional. Football allows us to express the full range of emotions in a socially acceptable manner. It allows us to release various emotions vicariously, rather than letting them build up, internally, to the point of uncontrolled explosions of emotion that could affect other areas of our lives. Many aspects of our lives create stress. Football is certainly a release valve to help us cope with it …. or add to it!
These are just some of my aimless thoughts. Anyone else got any?!