Finding a team to get behind is easy if you have the right people next to you
I remember waking up in the early mornings of a school night to watch the Argentina Vs Germany match and hoping desperately for Argentina to win. I have no idea why I rooted for Argentina – probably the Maradonna factor. Actually, definitely the Maradonna factor.
Soccer is one of the most popular games in India. Although it would not hold a candle to cricket, it is not unusual to drive through some isolated villages in India and see people playing football (soccer), if not, it’s volleyball.
As a new Australian, I find it hard to support the cricketing team, the same way I find it hard to really get behind a footy team. (Of course Majak Daw has changed that for me now. Go North Melbourne!).
But back to the point of soccer. I feel I can really get behind the Socceroos because it, like me, is a ‘new’ Australian sport. It, like me, is full of people whose stories and lives are split between cultures. Please.. The Ashes is really more of tribal war than clash of cultures. And I just find it leaves a bad taste in my mouth that Australians are falling all over themselves and their English roses to show how cultured they are. They are forgetting the oldest living culture in the process.
Anyway, back to soccer again. The game is known to us. We could really, actually, identify with players. It’s a new game in Australia.
I recently went to a soccer match with a family. This has had a great influence on how I see soccer of course. The only other time I’ve been at a match was the India-Australia one dayer and it was really tense and uncomfortable with charges of racism being thrown about from one side to the other. It was not comfortable.
The other night, the story could not have been more different. My daughter has a best friend. Her mother is Austrian and her dad, Australian. They have recently moved to Australia and Marina, the Austrian, is still settling in and I see a lot of myself (and my early days in Australia) in her and this really appeals to me. Plus she is not very girly and does not mind that our girls together are capable of bringing the house down.
So to go to a match with this “mixed bunch” was an experience that I enjoyed – it helped that the children were busy talking among themselves. Of course she thought it was a picnic, not a match but in the larger scheme of things, that did not really matter.
We travelled to the game together. Three children crushed into the back of the car while the mums sat in the front. It was a well organised night, although a late one.
I feel that I could really follow this game. Because with football, I feel I don’t have to choose between Australia and India (because India’s team is so bad, they don’t figure on the international stage…yet). I also don’t feel bad about that because ever since I was little, I’ve always found other countries to align with when it came to soccer. So it’s easier for me to choose a country that is actually the one that I am supposed to side with.
Now, it’s all incidental that the Australia won 4-0 against Jordan. It’s also incidental that my son and daughter both said that the “Yellow” t-shirts would win.