With Birmingham City seemingly heading for a mid-table finish this season, I’ve seen suggestions that our remaining games are rather meaningless. And I can understand fans thinking that if, for them, football is just about money or winning a trophy. I think that football is about more than that and I’m going to try to explain what it means to me. And I’ll start by being lazy and quoting something I wrote in a post a year ago instead of composing a new paragraph:
“I think there is great value in any activity that helps a person to identify with a group outside his or her narrow social circle. And supporting a football club certainly helps to do that. Some people who know me at church or in a reading group have expressed surprise when they find out I go to football matches; I don’t fit their stereotype of a football supporter. Because I go to matches I know that all sorts of people can be football fans. I don’t like the obscenities I hear shouted by some fans or agree with all their opinions but I see them as fellow human beings not stereotypes. I value that and fear for any society where people retreat into narrow circles of people like themselves.”
I also think there is value in activities where people interact with each other face to face rather than electronically. E-mail and texting are great ways to keep in touch but people need to talk as well. At games, I do see people staring at their little screens but I also see a lot of people having conversations. Parents explain the rules of the game to their children and introduce them to the realities of life. And supporting Birmingham City through its sorrows and occasional joys is great preparation for the ups and downs of real life!
I appreciate spending time outdoors, away from my laptop screen and all the things I need to do at home. Even when Blues play dreadfully, worrying about them is more relaxing that worrying about more important things in life. And every now and again, my beloved team surprise me with a game packed with action, drama and excitement. As someone who leads a rather mundane life, I really value that.
I am sure that Walsall fans are feeling massively disappointed after their loss at Wembley yesterday. I hope that they don’t think it was a meaningless game.