Each person has a peculiar way of living, personal philosophies about life and their own ideas of correctness. The fun of having to live as a part of society is that all these people with varying ideas are forced to coexist together and are expected to do so peacefully (barring people with diplomatic immunity).
This diversity can be a beautiful thing at times (like a pack of colourful, multicoloured Skittles) except for the fact that with the sheer number of people we have to cohabit with; it becomes an onerous task to be able to find people who share the same viewpoint and idea of beauty.
The most conspicuous effect of this miscellany is that it has become extremely difficult to make friends effortlessly (not the Facebook kind, that’s quite the contrary). The process of becoming friends now entails hours of social chatter, pointless small talk, conformity in relation to the group’s preferred intoxicant and other tastes (clothes, phones, Honey Singh, Hotline Bling). Therefore, befriending people turns from the ideal exercise in comfort into an exercise.
This has been proving to be doubly difficult for me. People I have had a chance to come across recently have very different criteria while gauging people than my own (niceness and intelligence, in that order). That fact, combined with my slightly inappropriate sense of humour, means that I am generally thanking my stars if I am able to navigate social scenarios without disagreeable experiences. So I end up grumbling about the world being illogical at times.
Thankfully, there exists a very different space (Fight Club). It is a place that is never unwelcoming and where the regular rules don’t apply. It is a place where everyone is equal and can bring their philosophies / mentality and express themselves through skill rather than loud words and louder actions. It is a place where different people work through their differences, because differences cannot exist when you are on the same team and need to move the ball.
Football is not called the beautiful game for nothing. There is a reason that something that starts as an innocuous hobby as a little child soon turns into a full-blown love affair for most people. Football is the most giving lover of them all.
The act of transforming from an individual to a player is a process of magical metamorphosis. Just to be able to survive on a pitch requires technique, skill, strength, speed and a very keen game sense. Sport can be a great leveller. Whoever you are when you are outside, you don’t exist if you don’t have any of those on the pitch.
The most advantageous (and often underemphasised) fact about football is that you can learn a lot about people. Words lie, eyes cheat, faces deceive but your feet will always give you away for what you are. I (and history, if we talk in grander scales) measure people through how they conduct themselves on the pitch. You always know what grandeur a person is deluding himself with and the sort of respect he harbours for you by the simple test of judging the exact moment when the ball is passed. The best players (and the best people) for me are the ones who make sure that their team wins. Whether it is done through their feet or someone else’s remains inconsequential.
That’s another reason why football is such a romantic sport — because you play for and as part of a living, breathing and burgeoning team. I think that’s where it scores over other sports. Other sports also probably demand similar things from players. But the fact that geniuses like Messi, Neymar and Ronaldinho can create magic together instead of having to do so against each other (Federer-Nadal) is what makes for absolutely scintillating moments and memories. They are not greats alone, they make everyone around them great. That’s a huge reason why there are a lot more friendships in football than rivalries (clubs are cut-throat rivals, men very rarely).
Speaking of rivalries, competitive football is another behemoth in itself. Tournaments are basically war. Think of two units putting their bodies on the line in intense, high-speed battles to make sure that the ball crosses the opponent’s goal line. No one holds back. They are one hundred per cent adrenaline affairs characterised by full throttle tackling, blinding speed and hard, fast shots.
I cannot even begin to describe everything football has taught me. As one grows as a player, one grows as a person. The most important thing it teaches is tolerance. A lot of people I am a good friend with today are people who would have never even spoken with me because we have so many fundamental dissimilarities. Yet the only dissimilarities we have on the field is that they play defence / striker and I don’t. And it is because of our dissimilarities that I need them to be there as much as they need me. It is one of the most natural and unselfish codependence there is.
I have been asked why people lose it for just a game. The point is that it is never just a game. It is twenty-two people’s dreams, toil and plans unfolding in front of your eyes in ninety minutes. And it is almost impossible to not let your own hopes and dreams mingle with theirs. They are heroes after all.
So get your friends and get some Charlie
‘Coz Jamie Vardy’s havin’ a party
PS- Here is a link to some very pure madness.