For a professional writer getting requests to write on various topics is common. One has to be ready for any topic to write on at a very short notice and do it well enough to get published. No one has any idea what an Editor may want. But when the soccer season a la World Cup arrives, life is easier. It's only soccer that they want. Even AL-BNP and the eternal fight for democracy is not asked for. The true colours of human nature are finally exposed. It's the only football World Cup that people want to read or talk about around this time. And just what is it that makes people so enthusiastic?
Who supports and why
Football is all about supporting and opposing. It's not even about the game much experts say. In fact, the game itself is just an excuse to support and display one's passion. It's also about identity declaration. Some are concerned that all these Bangladeshis are displaying foreign flags and it's a question mark on their national identity but they get it wrong. Flags are about displaying support and loyalty but obviously human beings have more than one. I am not sure if it means that humans are naturally multi-gamous or not but obviously there are many loves in a life of different types. Nor am I sure if soccer is replacement for sex or not but some of the expressions of pleasure and joy appear to be close to you-know-what. So there....
But what is also a fact is that soccer enthusiasm operates at both individual and group level. So taking sex as an analogy could mean both common couple sex to group sex. Is that also common in human nature? Well, I think such matters should be discussed in another forum but let's contemplate all this deep issues of human nature and evolutionary biology later. But the group factor remains.
Here is a learned quote on football and its sociological aspect which explains much about it as a group game and its cause for popularity.
"Group affiliation involves security and being in a group it's like a football fan's second family. Group affiliation will make supporting the club feel better because the people in the group have a love for their club and they can relate to you when that football team is involved e.g. discussing the team players or results. Group affiliation will help you spend time with other supporters of the club. "Group affiliations motive, that is, a desire to spend time with others suggests (Wann and et al 2001 p32)."
In other words, it's all about having many families or new families and so on.
So what is going on in Bangladesh?
Bangladesh is all about families. And families are key to understanding soccer, whether teams or countries. They are like family members -father, grandfather, brother or a mother and all live together. Watching or following a match is like being together with huge large powerful family-supporters are like de facto families. One can see that in our politics where these behave like families in every sense of the term.
FB is a big reality in our life and it's full of "friends". And friends communicate all the time. But there are non-friends too who interact with us so FB really is a prototype of the real world. By supporting a common flag one creates a community and by opposing do the same. And by not supporting/opposing/hating the others one creates the enemies, the threats which are so needed to sustain friendships.
Football not only allows people to run away from difficulties and live in a new fantasy world. "Escape and entertainment motive many fans believe that a day at the ballpark or an evening in front of the TV, rooting and cheering, takes their minds off their everyday troubles" (Mullin and et al., 2007, p85 ).
In Bangladesh self-esteem is always under attack and on FB, that is very important. Self-esteem is a common motive to be a sports fan. Supporting a successful football club will be likely to give you self-esteem because it will help you feel good about yourself because winning gives you enjoyment. Self-esteem gives you the chance to feel better about yourself when your team is victorious. Problem is teams lose and that plunges self- esteem down.
And as a result of that, people do what people often love best to do- hate. There is no greater pleasure than hating the enemy and Bangladeshi fans love it. Hating Brazil or Argentina is as important as loving them and don't we know it. It's all over FB, the mirror of Bangladesh. The abuse that is shared is incredible but it is as beloved as idolizing. Just take the BNP or AL relationship and the entire mystery of World club soccer becomes clear. Love alone is not enough in life, hating is just as crucial. Viva WC football.
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