April 15, 2006

What does football mean to you?

The best part of being a football fan is often the banter we indulge in with rival fans. Sometimes, we go to great lengths to prove that our club is better than another club. Sometimes, we say things we often don't mean in the course of a heated debate.

But most importantly, we recognise that the only way through which such a complicated relationship exists between all different types of fans stems from our love for the game itself.

What does football mean to you?

For some people, it's a means of escapism. If you support a great club that is winning all the time, it might bring you some temporary measure of happiness.

For some people, it's the only way through which they can be a 'winner'.

For some people, it's nothing more than 22 idiots chasing a ball. A meaningless game.

For some people, it's more than just a game. It's their whole life. They devote their entire existence into proving, strengthening their allegiance to a certain club. What for?

One thing I know for sure is that football is a game that connects many different people from all walks of life together. It is a game which somehow manages to transform 'macho' men into some helpless crybaby. It is a game which makes the simultaneous experience of a whole range of emotions possible. It is a metaphor for life.

Football is also all about luck.

Some teams work their socks off but never seem to win; while winning seems like second nature to some others.

Some people get to spend years and years of their life basking in glory, watching their team play week after week. Some have to go through heartache every season as their team flirts with relegation and promotion one after the other.

Some fans are lucky that nothing ever happens to them whenever they go to a football match. Some others may go to their first football match ... and die.

I know maybe some people don't really care about Hillsborough that much. But I do.

And things like that should never happen.

So if you could, just observe a moment of silence for the 96 people who went to a football match and never came back. Or even those who died in various other football matches - for whatever reason. Those who sacrificed themselves - or were forced to sacrificed themselves - because of their love for football. You might think that they must have been stupid, and therefore deserved death, or you could think they were unlucky, or crazy, or whatever.

But remember that it could very well have been you. It might be you one day...

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