FIFA World Cup 2014 is now over. Just like any other competitions, winners leave the field (or Television/Computer/Laptop) chanting with smiling faces leaving the counterpart sad and (often times) crying. The unsuccessful team/players appreciate and acknowledge the winning team’s efforts and performances, and success. To me, this practice is not only conducive of the spirit of sportiveness, it also upholds self-esteem which often, paradoxically, and sadly, misguides s not to do that. If the losing team (of the day; today’s losing team is tomorrow’s winning team!) do not appreciate that the winning team played/performed well, it only narrows down to the fact that the losing team was defeated by a poorly-performing team which surely is worse than being defeated by a well-performing (and so, well-deserved) team!
But, we tend to forget the implicit implications of appreciating the competitors’ competence. We rather come up with the ideas to disgracefully put the opponent’s victory in question. As long as soccer is concerned, one of such ideas is to say that the opponent scored ‘goal(s)’ even though didn’t ‘play’ well. This possibly is true, in a lot of instances. However, scoring goal is the only parameter that counts at the end, and this is very well explicit, and that it applies equally to both the parties. If you don’t like ‘number of goals scored’ as the parameter of success, raise your voice against the parameter itself altogether; and not when you fail to do so.
When we criticise our winning opponents on the ground of not playing well, it might help us pretend that we are great admirers of ‘artistic soccer’! Then, it should apply equally to both the home and opponent teams. Here, we are talking about those who have ‘score goals, doesn’t matter how’ vs. ‘scored goal? Hah, didn’t play well!’ policy!
This gets even worse when we exhibit our full potential of demonstrating that we hate our opponent more than we love our team. I know it can be comfortably aligned with our domestic politics, but it is not always fair to do everything we are capable of doing!
Yet we do. And we behave in such a way as if we are not allowed to say anything good of Messi if we are supporters of any team but Argentina, anything good of Neymar if we are the same of any team but Brazil. This especially applies between the supporters of Brazil and Argentina, respectively. Our craziness prevents ourselves from appreciating great performances!
The most pathetic part of such an attitude is quite like appreciating a poem (or certain poems) rather than the whole genre of poetry, appreciating earthenware rather the whole art of pottery. And who doesn’t know that ordinary people love the product while the extraordinary the act/process; while the former search only for the destination, the latter extract every bits of nectar out of the journey itself!
Talking about craziness! Well, amid the legislative restrictions laid by the Bangladesh Flag Rules, 1972 on Foreign Flags being flown in Bangladesh, reports from the news media and friends clearly indicate that the whole country was virtually covered with certain foreign flags. There has been report on making 3,500-yard-long German flag worth Tk. 150,000 by a Bangladeshi farmer selling 50 decimals of his land property! And this craziness has been officially acknowledged by the German Charge d’Affaires. While this is intuitively expected from a German, does it not also encourage yet more craziness? Has there been any report of anything such or even close in Germany or Charge d’Affaires’ residence or workplace? Does it in anyway mean that the Germans love Germany less than this Mr. Hossain does? It is possibly even okay for Mr Hossain to love Germany more than the Germans since this is the country that anecdotally produced his life-saving drug. But, should he not have been reassured that there are many other solemn and serene ways of demonstrating your love and affection?
To add fuel on the fire, there has been report of murder in a clash between the Bangladeshi supporters of Argentina and Brazil. We don’t know of anything such in either of these two countries as yet. Sounds like a Riot or Crusade or Jihaad? Well, poorly so!
Certain sports have become ‘religion’ in certain parts of the world as reported in news media worldwide. Soccer has been reported as a religion in Brazil; Cricket has been in India (see “If Cricket is a Religion, Sachin is God” by Vijay Santhanam, Shyam Balasubramanian). Doing something religiously has nothing to do with any defined religion, rather well appreciated. However, calling any sports a religion might not be appropriate as any unanticipated consequences as ones cited above may well be attributed to religion owing to the fact that one religion tends to nullify and demean all other religions in the world. Grow up buddy, it’s soccer; it’s sports and not a religion!
Nazrul Islam is a PhD student at the University of British Columbia.