27 September 2012

Get a Grip Fotbal Fans

As I write this American football fans are outraged over the performances of replacement officials at NFL (National Football League) games. Czech - and other European fotbal fans - are just outrageous.

No fan of the world’s most popular sport (called soccer in the US), I finally went to a game (match) last week. It was a professional game between two teams from Prague. Predictably, the game ended with a (non) score of 0-0 (nil-nil to aficionados). Neither team was particularly impressive in my not-very-fotbal-attuned eyes.

What was impressive was the police presence. As I arrived at the stadium I noticed a police helicopter above, at least ten police vehicles, three mounted police, and a number of very tough looking guys with berets and lots of weapons. Several of the vehicles were equipped with bars on all the windows, including the windshield. Everyone entering the stadium was frisked, including children. No bottles of any kind were allowed to be taken in.

After leaving the lackluster game, I got on my bus with loads of fans. It was crowded, but relatively quiet. I did notice, however, that one of those iron bar-clad vehicles tailed the bus and stopped at every stop with us.

Reading the Prague Monitor the next day, I saw an article about the brawl that took place between fans of the two teams at the Starometska Metro station, a station we often pass through. It was brutal. A translation of the opening paragraph of that story reads this way,
Police are looking for witnesses to a brutal football fights that occurred after the end of yesterday's match between Dukla and Slavia in the metro station Staroměstská.More than a dozen supporters Slavia fans attacked two competing Sparta - forwards into men lying defenseless on the ground kicking, beating them with fists, stepped on them and dragged them along the ground.
There is no exaggeration here. The Metro station has cameras. The film was embedded in the news story. I watched it. If you’re interested, you can watch it for yourself. Don’t let the kids watch.

Yes, for American fans, sports of all sorts can become idols. Football, in particular, can be a religion for many. I’m a fan, but I hope I never turn into a fanatic. It's different here. European fotbal fans need to get a grip. Yes, I know that I’m painting with a broad brush, but this is a pretty widespread problem.

What's my point? Glad you asked. If those who profess to be Christians applied the same amount of (non-violent) zeal to their faith, I assume the world would be a very different place. Would that we all would adopt the same level of vehemencel in promoting and defending the faith - and morality.


  1. This just in: NFL officials are expected to return to the field tonight (Thursday, 27 September).

  2. In the spirit of fairness, I offer this. American baseball fans in Atlanta, went wild yesterday after a disputed call in a playoff game. Shame, shame. See it here. http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=321005115