IG: Guess what! I am going to see the UEFA Trophy!
19yr old football fan: What do you mean you’re going to see the UEFA Trophy?!
IG: Well exactly as I said… duh
19yr old football fan: No, I mean the Champions League Trophy or the UEFA Cup?!
IG: Emmm…. what’s the difference? Isn’t it all the same? Cup, Trophy?
19yr old football fan: Is this a joke? Are you trying to be cool? Do you know what you’re talking about?
IG: Yes, I’m going to go see the Trophy / Cup or whatever you want to call it. Heineken has brought to Kenya.
Now before you start thinking that I am your stereotypical girl concerned only with manicures and counting mindless calories in a sad looking salad, I’d like to state my defense. A) Football has never interested me, where is the skill in chasing a ball? Ask me about rugby, tennis even swimming and you have yourself a dialogue. B) Team sport does not suit my personality (for those of you who didn’t read my previous post BE INSPIRED 2-0-1-2). So really why bother getting involved in a game filled with hooligans and overpaid players with bad attitudes. Did you know that one in four men would rather lose their girlfriend than their club (according to Football Fans Census Poll)? Where is the logic in that?
BUT, since I am a ‘good sport’ (note, pun IS intended) I went in search of all the reasons why it is so great.
IG: Please can you explain why I should be following football?
19yr old football fan: Don’t. Just stay in the kitchen where you belong.
Lorry Boy: ummm… no. It’s a waste of time and resources.
Right, even ONE reason to follow it will do at this point. Well, after MUCH research and time wasting (I mean eye-opening) this is what I came up with. And no before you ask I won’t be stating the obvious – I can find plenty of other games where the players are HOT.
1. It’s a global sport
It is one of the very few games that is played on all continents across the globe. South America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and even Australia play it. Over 250million people in over 200 countries play it and it is universally appealing. Moving to a new country or starting a new job? Well break the ice with football. Someone, somewhere in the crowd will get talking. Voila, you’re instantly liked.
2. It is free
I especially like this one particularly because we live in Kenya. Unlike other sport football isn’t elitist. You don’t need fancy gear or an expensive club membership to be able to play. You just need people, an open space, anything for a makeshift goal and something that vaguely resembles a ball.
3. It is an Olympic sport
Ever since 1908 it has been officially played at the Olympics. Ironically Hungry holds the record for the most number of medals won with 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze. Top football countries like Brazil and Italy don’t even feature in the top ten. Just goes to show you, nothing is predictable.
4. Even Paraplegics can play
Football has variations for anyone with disabilities. There is the 5-a-side for sportsmen (and women) who are visually impaired. Or the 7-a-side for those physically challenged. And there is even PowerChair football… need I say anymore?
5. If you can count to ten, you can follow it.
Unlike rugby or even tennis where scoring becomes complicated, football is as easy as it gets. Score and you get one point. Miss and you don’t. SIMPLE (explains why so many men can follow it).
6. It is full of controversy
If you understand the art of betrayal and back stabbing this is one for you. Football is filled with controversy and drama. Players trying to hijack each other red card, yellow card all sorts of cards are flying around. Why watch Desperate Housewives when you can watch grown men fight it out?
And well my biggest reason for supporting it is:
7. WOMEN CAN PLAY!
Women’s professional football has been steadily growing over the years and they are damn good at it too. Top players like Mia Hamm and Marta Vieira da Silva have sent the game into superstar status. Even earning respect from many skeptical men! There are even several international championships.
Well if it is good enough for other women then perhaps it isn’t such a lame game after all. Now don’t get me wrong. You won’t catch me behaving like a balding oversized man shouting obscenities at the players on the TV screen. BUT I might just be willing to learn a bit more.
And for the record I did finally figure it out. I went to see the UEFA Champions League Trophy… and not the UEFA Europa Cup courtesy of Heineken.
So, the only question left really is… how do I pick a team? Guys…. any thoughts?!