When you get yourself tangled up with an Irishman, you unknowingly expose yourself to a whole host of new sports. Some of them (such as hurling) are nothing short of crazy, and you find yourself wondering how long it will be until you get to attend another All-Ireland Final (Up Tipp!). Others (like Gaelic) seem to make no sense to at all, and watching them just leaves you confused and experiencing sympathy pain for the players.
And then there’s football.
Also known as the beautiful game (is that because of Beckham?), football becomes pretty significant in my house whenever something big is happening. And by big I mean a tournament that’s similar to the World Juniors…lots of countries, tons of games to catch, and completely irrelevant once your team is eliminated.
In all honesty, I’m not a fan of football at all. No need to explain that further, lest my in-laws get the wrong impression. But I must say that I am a huge fan of football fans. Such a crazy subculture! I had the pleasure of studying soccer hooliganism in an undergraduate “Sociology of Sport” class, and I’ve been quite enamoured with them ever since.
There are a ton of myths surrounding soccer hooligans, and I’m not here to dispel them all. But the one thing I would like to mention is that hooligans don’t always engage in violent acts to get their point across. In fact, sometimes all it takes to rattle the opposing team is some chanting and a few well-chosen songs. As proof I offer up “Exhibit A,” which depicts Irish soccer fans welcoming the English team to Euro 2012:
Gotta love the “you will never beat the Irish” chants mixed in there! And in case you were wondering, the crowd was also singing the Irish national anthem and The Fields of Athenry.
C’mon the boys in green!