Politics and Fandom

It is interesting to be over in Europe for an election. Definitely adds a different perspective. Without saying much about the results and how I feel about them, I wanted to try to make a connection between political fandom and football fandom.

I’m probably not the first person to say it, but being a fan of any sports team, typically entails despising another. In football, Liverpool and Manchester United love to hate each other;  while there is no love lost between Rangers and Celtic in Scotland, or AC Milan and Inter Milan of Italy…the list goes on. After seeing comments and reactions, before, during, and after the election, it was clear that there was similar feelings between some of the “fans” of political parties.

For sports this is great! It adds a level of competition and increases the spectacle of the game. However, even these sports allegiances are put aside when a more serious issue comes about. For instance, the whole soccer world stopped when Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the field last year and nearly died from heart failure. Even the bitter rivalry between neighbors Everton and Liverpool (clearly they don’t have many friends) was put aside to honor the integrity and memory of the Liverpool fans who lost their lives in a stadium disaster years ago. (see also)

Everton (blue) and Liverpool (Red) respecting the memory of the 96 victims who died in the Hillsborough stadium disaster.

The great thing about being a sports fan is that you don’t have to be rational. Of course most fans support their local team, which is understandable. Yet, I’ve heard some downright ridiculous reasons for supporting a team, “I liked their jerseys”, among them. To be honest, I have no idea why I am a Manchester United fan. I would tell you it was exposure at a young age through this video of United goals (ok I fell in love with David Beckams hair). But is that really a rational reason? I’ve heard it said that “you don’t choose your team, it chooses you”. I’m glad Chelsea or Man City didn’t fancy me.

True fans follow their team through thick and thin; when they are losing, winning, or even just plain doing things all wrong on and off the field of play. This is why it’s very rare to convert a person to fandom, when they already have a team. There is no reasoning with a sports fan. The only ultimate truth in football is that the team that scores more wins. Yet, as seen above, even non-rational sports fans will put aside their irrational desires, passions, and allegiances when it becomes a matter of life and death.

On both sides of politics in the US, there seems to be too many “fans”. Unlike sports, however, politics is not something that we can take part in on Saturday or Sunday afternoons (aka whenever the games are), and then leave for the rest of the week. It effects us daily. We can’t be irrational about our support. Support shouldn’t be founded in hatred for something else. A large portion of political “fans” appear to be more worried about the destruction of one team rather than the construction of their own. Which becomes self destructive in it’s own way. In any case, we shouldn’t be a “fan” of a presidential nominee or his party, that’s like being a fan of a coach (Yes, I’m sure it’s been done). We should be a “fan” of a just and free America – and prosperous wouldn’t hurt – because in the end, we all cheer for the same team: The USA.

There are some things that voters; however, can learn from sports fans. And I repeat from above, “even non-rational sports fans will put aside their irrational desires, passions, and allegiances when it becomes a matter of life and death.”

Let’s continue to hope and pray that the greatness and blessings that are the true American dream will continue on for the benefit of humankind.

Go head first! Go USA!!!




4 thoughts on “Politics and Fandom

  1. Pingback: See How Far We’ve Come! | HEAD FIRST FOOTBALL

  2. You definitely do get a different take in Europe where irrational love affairs with Democratic candidates dates back to the Cold War. Maybe they are still in love with Jackie (as opposed to Jack) Kennedy.

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