GOAL! One of the few words that don’t need a backstory to know what happened. GOAL! One of the few words that will have people running from all directions to see who scored. GOAL! The warning word you hear before earsplitting screams from an excited audience. Goal! The word used in Football (or soccer depending on your region) indicates that the ball has entered the goal net.
Football is undoubtedly the most popular sport on the planet. The “Beautiful Game” as they call it, has approximately 4 billion fans worldwide. FIFA World Cup is the sport’s most iconic event. Not only is it the most-watched team event but also one of the world’s highest paying competitions.
Many factors contribute to its popularity, but in my opinion, the top two are; it’s inexpensiveness and its ability to unite the masses. Only a ball and a relatively flat area are needed to get a game started. Therefore, anyone rich or poor, old or young can enjoy the sport. Unlike any other sport that I’ve seen before, this game has the ability to unite people globally and promote equality.
Football the Equalizer
For at least 90 minutes, all the inequalities, “isms” and “schisms” of the world disappear. The playing field becomes level. An underdog like Tivoli FC can defeat the elite Barbican FC. While on the international field, a country like Senegal can defeat their previous coloniser France.
Football has the power to bring people together, regardless of their age, race, gender, culture, or nationality. This is proven every time there is a football match. During a football game, fans unite to support their team and their players. Even when their team is knocked out of the competition, many fans or “bandwagonists” flock to support another team.
In Jamaica, especially in inner-city communities, the most peaceful periods usually occur when there is a football competition. Rivals come together and have genuine fun. Weapons disappear, malice ceases as everyone is caught up in the ninety minutes of bliss. Football competitions are often encouraged in these communities because of the potential return to peace. Youth use their time to excel on the field, which moves them away from negative influences.
A perfect example of community bonding happened during the Nannyville Gardens’ annual football competition. The atmosphere was filled with joy, excitement and peace. Women could be heard cheering for their team from a mile away while the men could be heard reasoning amongst themselves. Listen below to hear an animated recount of this experience:
More than Just a Game
One of the most ‘disrespectful’ things you can say to a footballer or fan is “Football is just a game”. That is a story you’ll never hear the end of. You will be bombarded with facts, opinions and stories to convince you otherwise. After reasoning with some avid football fans, we got to understand their love for the sport better. Listen below to some of the feedback we received when we asked about their love for the sport:
According to the fan below, “Football is a lifestyle” It is something that you have to live to understand:
“Love for the game is something intangible that cannot be taught or even explained.” This fan speaks about her intense love for the game and its players:
Besides its euphoric abilities, the sport is great for those who desire to stay in shape:
The following description perfectly sums up the wonders of the “Beautiful Game”:
How do you feel about football? Why do you like football? Let us know in the comments. Come share, celebrate, boast and debate our Jamaican culture with us.