Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Primates ahoy!

Since the Worldcup started, I got super excited again about football. It just feels good to be proud of the own nationality again and not feeling weird about showing the German flag when my friends and me paint our faces and put sticker tattoos on. Especially when you grow up in a country in which showing flag is not too common. However all the cheering has also one downside. Old grudges between certain countries grow stronger again. Some particular people from particular countries (I am writing cryptically on purpose to not offend anyone) would rather cheer for anyone but for Germany despite them getting along with Germans perfectly fine. When it comes to football their "primary grudges" against Germany seem to re-awake for no apparent reason. Don't get me wrong, I do not want everyone to cheer for Germany only, that would be completely silly and the tension before those matches just heats up the emotions and that is also one part that I really love about international football matches. Still I think that one of the general thoughts should be that the whole world (or in case of the Eurocup whole Europe) is participating in one competition and through that feels united; everyone is getting excited about football; people all over the world are following the matches and media all over the world cover one main topic for weeks. Well of course, this is still the case, but those negative vibes, which of course are unavoidable, feel rather disturbing, especially when you get them from people that you used to get along with so well...

Just checking out facebook and recent posts amongst friends show a clear picture: during the Worldcup the competing teams/countries become the enemy. People write nasty remarks, make fun of each other when one team looses, become jealous when their nationality just lost and so on. Sure, some people do not take football that seriously and therefore don't take any harm in childish remarks from their "friends", but some actually take the competitions very seriously and do take those comments amiss.

I know, this is part of the game and especially during a worldwide sports event identifying with your country and nationality becomes very important. I am simply wondering why especially football is causing such a backwards development in us? Why is it not happening to such an extend during the Olympic Games, which are also mainly about sending representatives of one nation to the games to compete against other nations. The difference between the Olympic Games and the Worldcup is obvious: in the Worldcup only men are participating.

I am also wondering, why women, who normally do not really care that much about watching sports on TV become so territorial and nationalistic when it comes to the World and Euro Cup? Could the explanation be as simple as "because it is exclusively men participating" and therefore becomes a male domain and a representations of a macho culture? Is football a "civilized" and updated version of the primary hunting instinct: 22 men hunting one ball= 22 men hunting one prey animal?
And honestly, women, many of us are watching football for one single reason: the hot men! And isn't there a part in us that adores really manly men, that scream out gorilla-like if they miss a pass or the goal and support each other in good and bad times? And men like watching other men sharing emotional moments, being a team and doing something that seems to be exclusively manly?

A big exception from the "I support my country" rule is Sweden. Just a couple of days ago there has been a survey amongst 12 Swedes on Metro and all of them support either Argentina, Spain or Germany. That the Swedish women's football club won 17:0 against Azerbaijan was hardly even mentioned in the news. How come, that in a country like Sweden with a male football team, that does not really succeed that much, no one is supporting the women's football team, which ranks 4th in the women's football world ranking? Is their success not worth supporting? Why? Are those women no longer considered as sexy women as opposed to female tennis players with short skirts? This is, besides volleyball, the only female sport that I can come up with that men are actually watching for quite obvious reasons. Why do they not even get support by other women?
I know, that I am now walking on thin ice, but are Swedes rather supporting another nationality and by this men than their own women's team because it is women that are successful in a male domain?

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