We are fans of soccer. We, the collective soccer fan base, generally seem to enjoy a variety of things in addition to soccer. You will find members of our group who enjoy traveling, reading, and fine dining. You will find others among our midst that enjoy gaming, junk food, and diluted gin from the local grocery store. To each his own, right? (In an effort of full disclosure and brutal honesty, I have found myself enjoying all of those at one time or another. And, there is nothing wrong with any of those leisure activities, except for the grocery store gin. This, in hindsight, may be a cry for help. I’m just putting that out there.)
However, there seems to be at least one tie, other than soccer, that binds us all together: our proclivity to argue. Is there a fan base that bickers more than soccer fans? If so, I am yet to find it. Now, keep in mind, I’m not referring to the terrible riots and stampedes that we have seen recently and in years past. That is quite another level of horror and one that I hope we don’t find on our shores. I’m speaking just fan to fan. It seems that those of us in North America, perhaps because we have already been a bit persecuted just by being soccer fans, tend to jump down the throats of others who share a different soccer viewpoint.
For example, I recently got into a discussion with a new acquaintance at soccer sign-ups for my kids school league. It went something like this:
Acquaintance: “Hey, I saw you coach last year. You were wearing a Lampard jersey, right?”
Me: “Yes, that was likely me. I’m a big Chelsea fan. Who do you…“
Acquaintance: “Chelsea sucks. Lampard sucks. Manchester United is the best team in the world. Seriously, why would you even bother with that team?”
Me: “Well, I started supporting them in middle school after I read Glanville’s…”
Acquaintance (walking away and grabbing his kids): “Whatever. Chicharito is better than Torres or Drogba.”
Me: “Well, if recent form is the only thing we are going to look at, then I am inclined to agree with you, stranger. Your argument, while off-putting, is not without its merits. Where did he go? I’m talking to myself again, aren’t I? He left like a minute ago, didn’t he? Hey kids, did you see a guy over here talking to me?”
I am embellishing slightly, but the premise was the same. There seems to be, at least in my experience, real venom in many soccer dialogues with casual (and not so casual) fans in these parts. Maybe it is just the area I live in. Or maybe it is just my stupid, smug face. Is it the same for you?
That’s not to say all dialogue goes this way. I just had a nice give and take with a superior at work about Wayne Rooney’s recent work rate. (Wayne Rooney’s recent work rate, say that 5 times fast…) I am of the opinion that his work rate has suffered recently (again, just his work rate, not his play or results – settle down). I think, compared to his normal bull-dog approach, Rooney has been playing it slightly safer when away from the ball. My superior thought I was insane, and perhaps he is right. He made some valid points. We didn’t change each other’s point of view but we had some good dialogue. And at least he didn’t take his kids and run away after screaming his point of view. So, there might just be hope for us all.
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