Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I did not see that coming (Musings on the not so beautiful game)

One of my twitter accounts is @eurofutballIt's where I keep up with my favorite team, Chelsea (CFC), my favorite player, Fernando Torres, the British Premier Leagueand European football in general, what we in NA call soccer.

One twitter account I follow 'sends up' Arsenal's long-time manager, Arsène Wenger,  Wenger knows best, where tweets often include a variation of
  • I did not see that coming.
This blog briefly discusses what I did not see coming when following Chelsea fans on Twitter.

First the good stuff. There are many admirable CFC fans on Twitter. By admirable, I mean loyal supporters who support the club, all its players and manager through thick and thin. Moreover, they use language suitable for all, including kids.

Sadly, there are many CFC fans who exude hatred and ridicule to players who do not live up to their expectations and ridicule anyone on twitter who disagrees with them. 

Such fans are typically vulgarians whose favorite words are f*ck and the 'C' word, often combined as 'effing c*nt.'

They do not support the team and all its players, only those who perform well, game in and game out. Score, win, I love you. Otherwise you're a piece of sh*t. This is what I did not see coming. 

From an early age my parents taught me the following:
  • Obscenity is lazy. If you disagree with someone, explain why. To resort to name-calling or obscene language means you lack ideas and arguments.
  • Sports celebrates the human spirit. It's about having fun and valuing the best in humans. Sports is joyful.
  • It's about how you play the game, not about winning. Indeed, in the end, winning is nothing if wins are bought by those with the most money. Winning because of money is okay so long as you know that buying wins is meaningless. 
  • Professional sports are just games played by boys and girls lucky enough to extend their childhoods. At best, sports are entertaining diversions from our mundane, real lives. At worst, cut-throat, big businesses that cynically manipulate fans to get their money.
  • Competitors deserve respect and should be treated as you would like to be treated. If you trash sports foes, you trash yourself.
From childhood I've followed professional sports like Canadian hockey and the NA version of football, as well as baseball and basketball. 

Only recently have I been able to follow the beautiful game of football, aka soccer.

Immediately, I noticed significant differences in the British Premier League related to fan behavior on Twitter, comments on Youtube videos, and news stories. 

Most experience relates to Chelsea fans but I suspect it also extends to fans of other clubs.
  • Extreme obscenity is the norm
  • Hatred of opposing teams and players is the norm
  • The more successful opponents are, the stronger the hatred
  • Trashing your own players and manager is the norm, at least for CFC fans
  • Respect for opponents is nonexistent
  • Envy of successful teams and players manifests itself as hatred
  • Past wrongs reign supreme, are never forgotten
  • The 'milk of human kindness' (sympathy, empathy) is nonexistent
  • Reflective thinking and thoughtful analysis of human behavior is nonexistent
Sadly, many fans of the beautiful game are ugly human beings.