OPINION

What is this soccer?

Why do some people suffer heart attacks when their team loses, while others couldn’t care less about soccer? Is it a kind of virus which infects you for life once you’ve been exposed to it, or does it have nothing to do with initiation? Is it a highly technical game or a substitute for religion? Does the magic it exerts over spectators have anything to do with what they believe or with what they see? And why is it usually a man’s game? What kind of spectacle is it: chess, or ancient Greek drama? Does it involve a scientific approach to the future or the simple desire for an impassioned moment? Does the fans’ passion come from the depths of their inner being, or from something external, like the clash of two clearly defined roles? Perhaps it is all of these. Certainly soccer fans experience a kind of intellectual pleasure, rejoicing over the artful, almost mathematical movements of the players and the visual perfection of the game, which is also a cathartic spectacle of defeat and victory. There is also no doubt that for many fans their team fulfills a desperate need for blind worship. But not for all. Not only are most women indifferent to soccer, because they don’t identify with its male psychology, but there are also many men who are uninterested, either because they are solitary by nature, resist easy escapism, lack the appropriate training, or fear being sucked into the apparent organization of internal chaos.