Sunday, October 19, 2008


Some people think football is a matter of life and death but it is sure more serious than that. Until now, I never really shared the same passion others have about football. In a nutshell, I am not a football fan. Do not get me wrong, I watch the sport, but not with the same aggression as I see my friends exhibit towards the poor thing. I mean, I could never really understand how people will sit week-in, week-out watching the same thing with so much enthusiasm. Well, perhaps I was turned into a mere spectator after reading gory tales of how people with high emotions stab themselves over mere sports and football clubs- it starts with just an argument you know.

However, I now have a change of mind towards the suppose “passion for football”. To many, football is just a game, but to me, I think it is more than that. Recently, during the last Lagos State Local Government election to be precise, my colleague, Akinwale Kasali and I decided to “monitor” the election, the response from voters etc as part of our responsibility as the Press. We needed to move from one local poll to another but there was no transport. Thus we decided to hitch-hike. But who will give some strangers a ride with the quiet atmosphere created by the “stay at home” order of the government?

There we stood, waving down different cars and bikes/okadas that whizzed past us without a second glance. Then at the point of almost giving up, a car screeched to a halt in front of us and my colleague yelled “Gunners for life”. Aha, the driver understood that language. In we hopped and the short ride that lasted for about fifteen minutes was spent by the duo discussing sports. “How did you know him?” I asked my colleague after alighting. “Oh we played football together a few weeks back”. Interestingly, he neither knew his name nor any other information. It was just their shared passion in football that connected them and of course granted us the free ride and thus contributed to the success of our assignment.

Will you believe that on our way back we were again given a free ride by another person, a total stranger, whom my football-driven friend knew from playing football in his friend’s neighborhood? Now that is some experience I will never forget. We can all be united by football without necessarily allowing all the high emotions or demons of the sport to drive us into stabbing ourselves to extinction. From this experience, I now believe that there is more to football than we see on the surface. As Joe Namath of American football Hall of Fame quarterback says “Football is an honest game. It's true to life. It's a game about sharing. Football is a team game. So is life”.

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