If you try to explain why football is so great to someone who doesn’t follow the sport, you won’t find the words.
It is bizarre that such a global sport is not easy to describe. However, the feelings generated by the game provide the colloquial namesake. Football is a wonderful game.
Life, especially in modern times, can feel frustrating and empty. We have more conveniences at our disposal than ever before. Yet the world seems to be swinging from one chaotic disaster to another.
Politics, for example, is shot down. You can hardly start a logical debate with someone online before the vitriol arrives.
Football is far from immune to these drawbacks of the modern world, but at its core it remains pure and beautiful.
State-owned Manchester City, Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain being able to spend a bottomless pit of money is not a great advertisement for the sport. But beauty lies in the game on the field.
What makes football the most beautiful sport?
As fun and immersive as American sports are, there’s always the feeling that you know when to look at your phone or when to go to the bathroom and not miss a thing.
Football doesn’t have that. The pace of the game is mouth watering. The speed at which momentum swings from team to team is frightening. It always puts you on the edge of your seat, even if you don’t have a special emotional connection with the teams that are playing.
On the football field, you see moments that defy description. Thierry Henry’s magical first touch and volley against Fabien Barthez in 2000. Lionel Messi runs through an entire team before passing the goalkeeper and onto the world stage against Getafe in 2007. These are moments that happen in the blink of an eye but stay with you for a lifetime long.
When football is played well, it can feel like an orchestra hitting all the right notes. Things that are hard to achieve for the common person can seem so easy for these generational gifted athletes.
Football fans make the spectacle better
Although football fans sometimes cross the line, the presence of fans is what makes the game what it is.
Football in empty stadiums during the COVID-19 pandemic was terrible. There was no feeling, no pressure, no fear. These feelings are the lifeblood of the game.
Who cares if Manchester United put on more stoppage time drama when no one is there to see it? It was a travesty to see Liverpool end decades of suffering in the league as they lifted the Premier League trophy to the seat backs.
Football can be an escape for many. It attracts young people who, perhaps for the first time in their lives, suddenly get a sense of belonging.
They are no longer an anonymous person at school, but they are instantly part of a fan base, all desperate for the same outcome, three points.
When you write this down on paper, it doesn’t seem magical. That’s why non-football fans find it all so bizarre. It’s hard to explain, it just gives you a certain feeling.
Football connects generations
It has become a bit of a cliché, but football has the potential to forge strong bonds between family members.
You will see some of the best father-son moments two people can describe at their favorite football stadium.
Again, it’s a moment of sheer insignificance in the grand scheme of things, but think back to incidents you’ve witnessed with your mom or dad, and relived them over and over for years. Football can create such long-lasting bonds, and no matter how much money goes into the game and where it comes from, football remains the greatest sport and experience ever invented.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sven Simon
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