The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Us and Them

Posted by Exile on June 18, 2012

Or, the ups and down of national sportsmen and women.

I don’t suppose it has escaped many people, that the European football championships are being held at the moment. Personally, I don’t follow this wimpy game and do not understand the vast outpouring of emotion and behaviour, both good and decidedly atrocious, that this activity generates. This makes me perhaps the ideal observer since I have no affinity for any particular team or, for that matter, any country that may or may not be participating. I really don’t care who wins or loses. After all, it’s only a game, like tiddlywinks, not warfare. No one gets killed and there is no sovereignty involved. I am amazed how the conversation during these championships is centered singularly on the goings on that manifest themselves on football pitches and the people involved in these activities. I find myself somehow above all this and flatly refuse to involve myself in it, removing myself from any such nonsensical and useless discussion.

My dear lady wife, on the other hand, is a dyed-in-the-wool nationalist when it comes to sports and she follows them with a passion, albeit from the sofa. She, and I suppose thousands of others, follow the procedures unfolding before her on the TV and will brook no interruption or distraction. She applauds, bemoans, shouts and verbally abuses, depending on who did what and how the “bloody stupid” referee judges the situation. She sighs, she cheers and boos at the action and generally has, I suppose, a great time of it all. I usually leave her alone to get on with it. It doesn’t matter if this is handball or football. The procedure is the same. Yesterday it was football. Denmark v. Germany. I went about other business. Occasionally, I try to show some interest.
”Which one is Ronaldo?” I ask. “Bugger off and leave me alone.” she replies. I do so. Immediately and before something gets flung at me. 

However, fortunes are fickle, as my grandmother would be wont to say. And she was right. You can’t win ‘em all. Such is the nature of these overfunded, overestimated and far too meaningful (for some) competitive games that we call sport.

This is where the ups and downs comes in… have noted a certain trend amongst the people that follow these events. It concerns the winning or losing of games and the personal relationship between the onlookers and the players involved in this affair.
When the team of choice wins, it’s all “WE”. We won. We played well. We were great. We whipped ‘em. And so on.
When the said team of choice loses, it’s an entirely different matter. There is an instant distancing of the hardcore supporters and the so called “fans” (fanatics..Ed.) from the players.
Suddenly and surprisingly, it’s “THEM”. They were useless. They played like amateurs. They threw it away.

Oh. No solidarity in defeat then? No commiserations to the brave and beaten combatants? Nope. Like Caesar at the arena, it’s off with their heads and we don’t know them. I believe this to be a reaction caused by the garb the said supporters are wearing which so empowered them before the game and which now points them out as decided losers. It must be hard walking home, head hung low and wearing the very same shirt as was worn by players on the battlefield, along with accompanying war paint, while knowing that one has been so utterly defeated and humiliated.

I may not know or even understand about the fickleness of fortunes in sport, but I’m getting a grip on the spectators…..

Unforgiving lot, aren’t they?

Nothing fickle about that.


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