Football was a sport I considered I’d never watch. I judged everything as usual and also this sport. I was brought up with the Gentleman’s game called Cricket but Football was a big no for me. I had no interest, not even in the hot-shot players who played the 90 minute game.
Later came those friends who talked about Football as if their whole life depended on it, the Facebook status’s all about some player getting a red/yellow card or “GOAAAAAAAL”, the PlayStation games and the rest. It was highly frustrating for me as a girl not being able to understand anything about the game and all I watched was Cricket.
In between, there was this UEFA Euro Cup going on during the Summer Vacations and that was the only interesting thing happening on Television. During that time, my best friend and I gathered the curiosity to watch few of the matches in the last stage. The final on the 1st of July, 2012 was the most memorable one with both of us supporting the Spanish National Team against the Italians. Spain had defeated them four goals to nil. That day I really enjoyed Football. With no rules and information, just the faces of those breath-taking Spanish players melted my heart. I managed to watch the UEFA Champions League which was a league match of Chelsea against the mighty tough Bayern Munich (German League Team). For the sake of it at that time I supported Chelsea and they’d won against Bayern on penalties, 4-3. After that, University had started and I paid no heed to Football.
But I had honestly started loving Spain for the way they’d played since that summer. They had also won the World Cup in 2010 in South Africa which I of course couldn’t watch. I just knew few names and saw few pictures that everyone used to share & gained some knowledge. The Real Madrid team (Spain League Team) was also a very popular team which I’d started supporting in my mind as they had half of the very best Spanish footballers. As I said I didn’t pay much attention, I still remembered the names and was happy about whenever they’d win something.
Next was the guy in my life who loved Football. He wanted me to watch it just for him and I still doubted my decision to start watching the sport I’d never really taken interest in. He was a die-hard fan of Barcelona (Another major Spanish League Team a.k.a FCB). I completely disliked FCB as they were the biggest rivals of Real Madrid. Any match played between them used to be specially named as the “El Clásico”. I’d heard from many social media sources that their matches used to be one entertaining match yet I hadn’t watch any of them but did get to know the end result and celebrate if Real Madrid would win. I was ‘Hala Madrid’ for life!
My guy had a special love for these two specific players whom I currently now dislike the most. It’s not only because of us not being together any more, I also didn’t like their style. I wasn’t in for any of the famous footballers in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo and stuff. He loved Lionel Messi (Argentinian Forward) and Neymar Jr. (Brazilian Forward). I basically couldn’t bear any of their faces during this World Cup because it just gave me the whole lot of funny memories I used to have with him. We had fun arguments about who were the better players and what not. It also came down to the part where I never wanted to hear the F of Football or watch it ever again. The thought that haunted me the most that we were supposed to watch the matches together and talk about it, he could teach me who was who and what was what about the sport but we ended it right before the World Cup.
This time, the FIFA World Cup was a big deal as it was in Brazil and also ‘Neymar’ was the top hot player from Brazil for every boy and girl. The way everyone fan-girled about him and over him was starting to get ridiculously annoying. Other top favourites were Germany, Netherlands, and Spain, so on. Everyone knows the World Cup happens every 4 years and this summer, the entire world was just waiting for its next winner after defending champions, Spain. Unfortunately the team I loved lost out in a very sad rather depressing form during the knock-out stages (early stage).
So I’d decided finally that why should I bear the brunt of not watching a sport that reminded me of my ex. I would still want to enjoy my vacations watching the late night games with some midnight snacks. I wanted to learn the sport as focused as ever when I was with him. The next minute I was kicking out the Football from my life. The thought hurt me that he would be watching the match at his place now and me at mine but I still took up the challenge. I wanted to learn this sport and I was strong enough about it.
The day the World Cup started, 12th June 2014, I’d vowed I’d not stop watching the matches which I’d want to watch just because of my past. I watched the first game between the host nation Brazil and Croatia. I had to bear the sight of Neymar running across the field and not think about my ex who lovingly supported the 22 year Barcelona player. It was tough but I made it through the end, disappointed as Brazil crushed the Croatians 3-1.
Day after day I started reading about Football, the news of the World Cup, watching few highlights and talking to the friends who knew the game well. It was interesting actually! I was happy I was learning. There were faint memories in my head that I’d rather learn about the game from that special someone but then, NO. I was happy in this moment, happy that I was creating awareness inside myself about this game I never watched. My friends were more than happy to help me with the basics. I took up the interest till the very end. Of course I didn’t watch the few games in the knock-out stages but supported all the Spain, Germany and Netherlands matches.
After a whole month of FIFA, it does make me sad that I still have two and half weeks of my summer vacations left and no Football to watch any more. The late night matches, the calls, the screams, the goals, penalties, fouls, players, nothing. The big extravaganza was finally coming to an end today. It came down to Germany vs Argentina and I’m definitely with the Deutschland tonight! Hours left to the finale and here I am bidding farewell to the great game of Football. The game I never thought I’d ever watch. I’d learnt a bunch of new things, new players, their styles, etc. It was lots of fun especially on the social media where people come up with such creative pictures and then argue all night about who were the best teams or players and all of that.
I’d like to sign off by thanking the friends who helped me learn from scratch, FIFA World Cup 2014 and the teams for being such an amazing and entertaining tournament this year and finally the guy who left me and helped me take up this challenge to finally watch the sport.