A trip to the Psychiatrist 

​Good morning all. 

It’s now just ten days to our Federation Cup semi-final against Nassarawa United. It is our chance to end the season on a high, and win a trophy to at least make the agony of the past ten months bearable. Besides, it is a part of club credo that we must win some sort of silverware each season. I don’t think propping up the top half of the league table counts in that regard. 

Then again, here’s a thought: why does it even matter? 

So, say the club gets to the final. You pay your own money and watch. Presumably, they win. You cheer. Or they lose, and you rant and rave. You become sullen, irritable. Your mood darkens. All that for what though? 

In some ways, our connection to the football teams we follow is inherently unhealthy. I’m not talking about a wrong or right way to support now. I’m talking about the whole concept of following a football team in the first place. Football clubs don’t take out ads in the papers. They don’t ask for our patronage. We willingly seek out a team, based on some idea(l): aesthetics, or maybe their winning culture, maybe even their kit colours, and then we pitch our tent there. 

This applies even to those who are locals. We decide that we are going to let this team determine our happiness and/or sadness, while carrying out an activity over which we have little or not controls whatsoever. We get offended at them for failing to fulfill our mental image of them, almost like holding someone accountable for a promise he didn’t make.

Yes, yes, I know the players and coaching crew often make statements to the effect that they won’t let the fans down and stuff. Which is all well and good. But think about it: football is contested by two separate teams. For one side to win, the other must lose. When a player says “we will win”, he really is expressing a perceived level of preparedness. So what he’s really saying is “we have done what we feel should be enough to win”.

So, why do we do it? Why do we go to the football in order to distil a few drops of happiness? If I told you that there is an investment with only a 33% chance of yielding a desired return, would you be so eager to get on it? I think not. Yet, in a sport where there are only three possible outcomes – win, lose or draw – we are willing to invest our emotional energy, and mortgage our happiness just to follow. 

Is the average football fan addicted to self-harm? Maybe time to see a shrink.

Back tomorrow. 



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