Wed | Feb 1, 2023

Lessons from football world cup

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2022 | 12:05 AM


It is not surprising that Jamaicans have been keenly following the current FIFA World Cup. What amazes me, however, is the extent to which so many persons are intensely passionate about it, and get carried away with the hype and excitement. It has become the norm for exuberant fans to have jubilant celebrations after certain teams win, vociferous arguments between fans of opposing teams, crying when certain teams lose, and making bets on the results of certain games. Fans on social media have a field day, and a columnist wrote a broadside against Argentina.

Many Jamaicans show their loyalty to their favourite teams quite similar to how they show political loyalty with banners, graffiti, wearing of certain colours and sundry related paraphernalia. The national flags of teams are everywhere, on cars, hand carts, bicycles and even on some tombs and graves. The dead are included in the excitement. Presumably the deceased were ardent fans of that team.

Flags representing African teams in the World Cup are noticeably missing. In this land of Garvey, Rastafari and Marley that prides itself on African consciousness it seems odd that this was not extended to football. Perhaps Jamaicans prefer to cheer for the many black players in European and South American teams, but not the teams from Africa. Strange.

Jamaicans will gain more if we see the world cup as learning opportunity. Some lessons include punctuality and time management, the importance of physical fitness, balance between skills and teamwork, respect for authority, sportsman spirit, as well as appreciation of effort, resources, and organisation.

People should consider learning something about the flags they proudly display, their colours and meaning. They could find where their adopted country is located, as well as facts about them. They could also learn basic words and phrases from their local language.

Football has the extraordinary power of creating an international fan base unlike other sports. Even so, it would be more profitable if our people seek to use these opportunities to learn something and benefit more than just being involved in the hype and excitement.