Thursday, 12 March 2015

The notion of football from the eyes of a young Addick

Football is the greatest thing in the world. I'm not talking about that well-known idea of how it brings communities and people from all walks of life together. That is good, don't get me wrong. But no; I'm talking about pure selfish ecstasy. Charlton won their fifth game in six last Saturday in a tough away game at Cardiff and the feeling I had was almost too much to describe. Incidentally, my first reaction was that I wanted to propose to Tony Watt and run away to start a new life together. But having had time to cool down and reflect, it became clear that it is the best feeling you can experience and that nothing really comes close to it (apart from love, but I'm only really talking about important things in this article). I'm not an idiot, I'm aware of how childish and hyperbolic it sounds to say that my entire weekend, and general outlook, was improved because of 11 men on a pitch kicking a ball around. Also, I'm a happy person anyway; the Addicks do not provide me with the only means of joy I have. But I maintain that nothing can change your mood like your club, your second family, triumphing.

It's in your blood, you feel it in every part of your body, it runs through you like fire in your veins. I don't think one can truly experience euphoria until they possess a fanaticism towards a football club. Love it or hate it, football is the only thing that can do that. 'Oh but what about rugby, cricket, other sports..?' you may ask. I'm afraid I won't accept that. Having been several times to cricket and rugby matches, I can tell you that fandom is a wholly different experience there. Fans from opposing teams sit together, drinks are enjoyed, and the on-field action serves its function as an entertaining accompaniment. This does not, can not, happen in football.

The Romantics used to talk about the notion of the sublime, with William Wordsworth describing poetry as the 'spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling'. That is what football is for me and for thousands of others. For 90 minutes, everything changes; you no longer think rationally, left with no option but to helplessly place your heart in the hands of 18 men you don't even know and will probably never meet. People often say that friends are the family you choose; to me, that is a football club as well. That is why it is so hard to hear people ask why we care so much about football. More significantly, that is why it is difficult not to feel frustrated by the concept of 'glory supporters'. Because one of the greatest things about supporting my club is that it is moments like this that make the feeling of success all the sweeter: because with it comes the heart-crushing feeling of defeat. Binary opposites serve to highlight the joy of experiencing the other side; without so much evil in the world, we would not appreciate compassion and goodness in the same way. And in the same way, we would not appreciate the joy of winning without first experiencing the bitterness of losing.

So to you, non-football fans, I completely understand that there are other hobbies and passions that you have that make you happy. But I do not think anything can come close to the beautiful game. It is the greatest thing in the world.

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