Spoilsport: The Football Delusion
Apparently, this was a terrible week for Scottish Football. Heads are shaken in dismay. Again.
That “…and-your-point-is-caller?” show on the radio is inundated with “analysis” of what went wrong. (Not that I watched any of the football, but I reckon the problem is: whenever they get the ball into the box…. there’s no one there to score…).
And I fail to understand why people care.
Often I have met people who believe that while watching their team play, that they are – in some real way – also playing. “We hit the ball up the park and then we scored.” Teenagers, who have been asked to write about a personal experience, sometimes write about a match they were watching, in which they took no active part. But they feel they were in it.
It might be nice to be so caught up in a match that you feel as if you have something to do with the outcome. But, besides perhaps part-funding the team through your season-ticket – can a fan have any effect?
Maybe there is some physics at work ; that your presence at the ground, your shouts, your will to win somehow transfers (or not ) onto the team? I don’t see how though.
And then there is the fact that it is less to do with skill and more to do with money. The richer clubs buy the better players and therefore “should” win. It’s not an exact science, but I’m sure if the clubs were ranked by wealth, it would mirror their rankings in the league, roughly.
So, the fan, living vicariously, has even less to do with it. Especially if they just watch the matches on TV.
Then there is the idea of team loyalty being intertwined with your identity. If you have been brought up to follow that team, you feel a necessary connection with that team and its success. They win: you win.
But though the club may remain constant, the team is always in flux. Any eleven players selected for are individuals and are therefore arbitrary. They could be playing for another club not long after. Their loyalty to the club rarely matches that of the fans.
What if all eleven players you support one season play for your club’s rival the following season? (OK so it’s unlikely) But how can the colour of shirt someone is wearing make you involved with the success of their footwork or the pride in their victories?
So, team loyalty: I don’t get it.
Let’s just watch Spain play.