I was hoping to write a less serious post today after my lamentations earlier in the week, but watching the football has changed my mind.
I love football. I’ve supported Spurs since I was a young boy back in the 80s, I remember watching the Italia 90 world cup and every one since. I’ve stood in the terraces at lower league clubs, I’ve sat in the seats of premier league sides, I’ve watched the beautiful game played out in National stadiums, and I’ve seen more football matches on tv than I can remember.
I own an array of football shirts for the teams I have followed, mostly spurs, but also England and Ireland, my home nations, and various other teams from across the world I have at some time felt affection towards. I’ve also outfitted my daughter in a spurs kit and previously a baby gro and booties set. She looks gorgeous I’m them.
However, I’m left wondering whether or not I want to share my love of football with my children.
Last night a pub in Lyon where spurs fans were drinking was attacked by a group of 50 or so Lyon fans, just because they supported the visiting team. Flares were thrown, people injured, and Nazi salutes made toward the spurs fans, a team with a long history of Jewish support. Unfortunately, this isn’t even the first time this has happened. When playing against Roma in the same competition, spurs fans were attacked in a well coordinated strike by Roma’s notorious Ultras.
To be honest this puts me off travelling to games abroad, but worse puts me off passing my love for this game on to my children. I always dreamed of taking my kids to see matches, sitting together, explaining the rules and pointing out the players, cheering for our team and sharing an experience. I’m not sure that’s something I want to do anymore. Why should I encourage my children to support a game that provides an excuse for grown men to get together and kick the shit out of someone because they wear a different colour shirt? It’s beyond ridiculous.
I think that if I encourage them toward any sport now it will be rugby, a game full of on field violence, crunching tackles, punching and stamping rife in scrums and rucks, broken bones and bloody noses more or less guaranteed. But at least they manage to keep the violence on the field, between the players who get paid to partake in it, instead of sneaking it out of the stadia and into the pubs and streets.