What it means to be a sports fan at the moment
There is a part of the human race that lives for moments like these: the sports fans. Those who live for their sport, wake up to watch it and sleep to dream of it. Those whose cupboards and walls are covered with posters of their favourite team, who remember match days better than friends’ birthdays. They live in a world where they are defined by the game they love and the team they support.
Sports = Life
There are some experiences you never forget. Like you crying, waiting and hoping till that six was hit, bringing the World Cup home. Or those long nights you spent cheering on your team to win the FIFA. Or sitting at the edge of your seat as two greats battle it over one point to clinch Wimbledon. And then those final moments of victory that take their time to sink in.
There is a part of the human race that lives for moments like these: the sports fans. Those who live for their sport, wake up to watch it and sleep to dream of it. Those whose cupboards and walls are covered with posters of their favourite team, who remember match days better than friends’ birthdays.
They live in a world where they are defined by the game they love and the team they support. An exhilarating world filled with the thrills and disappointments, it takes one on a roller coaster ride. It gives one moments that are so jubilant, nothing can do justice to it along with moments that are so astoundingly heart-breaking, it takes a long time to heal. Yet ultimately, victories and defeats don’t matter nearly as much as the beauty of the game.
It makes you a part of a bigger family, a family across the world, who understands you. All those eccentric rituals you follow before each match, all the happiness after a win, all the sadness following a loss, it is all understood. When a fan leaves the ground in a paroxysm of tears, every sports lover around the world knows exactly how it feels.
Game matters more at times
Such disappointments would be enough for any sane person to hold back from indulging in it any further. And yet, even in times when your players have cheated on you (read: match fixed), and in times when your game is changing in ways you don’t approve, you still watch it. You may curse it, swear on it, lament upon what has been lost but you watch it. Such is the unquestionable loyalty of a sports fan.
And through all this, you are left to deal with the other non-sports fans around you who never seem to let you be. There is always a friend who will trivialise your heartbreak by the ‘it’s just a game’ philosophy. Then there are some closer friends who get annoyed with how you let a game result affect your conversations. And endless other people you meet on a daily basis who seem hell-bent on making you realise that all your trials and tribulations for a game are not worth it.
And all the while, you are secretly suppressing your want to punch them, as you quietly switch this buzzing sound off by tuning into a world in your head, replaying those thrilling moments, amazed at how some people can’t appreciate them.
Sport transcends boundaries
Truth is, may be sometimes we realise that we are being insane, that we are not thinking logically, that may be, our response is not proportional to the event. But we will still postpone meetings, skip lectures and delay dinners, to watch that one match in peace. We will plan our holiday around a major series, or GP or Open. We will wear that one lucky shirt and sit in that one lucky position till we have seen our team through. And we will drive everyone around us absolutely insane over it.
Because it is worth it. Because it gives us a world where people from different countries are united by the common love. Because nothing in the world matches the adrenaline rush we experience at a sports ground, no happiness is like the one we feel when our team/player wins and no sense of belonging is as strong as that when we make the game our own. And then there is a moment when a retiring legend’s last words on the field are dedicated to us.
And so we laugh and cry with our game. Become a part of a big family, speak a language of our own. Make it a part of us and shape our lives around it. Because, it’s not just a game.