Football is more than just a game. It gives us something to cheer about during our darkest days, and also teaches us valuable life lessons.
Watching a football game is like taking an emotional roller coaster ride. The ecstasy we feel when our team snatches a last-minute equalizer or winner can turn to bitter disappointment in a matter of moments if the goal is ruled out, and few things in life are as nerve-wracking as watching a penalty shootout.
The beautiful game can lift our spirits or plunge us into despair, and it can also teach us valuable life lessons.
Here are a few of the ways that watching football has helped you to become a more forgiving, more resilient and more well-rounded person.
Learning How To Be Loyal
Maybe you chose to support your favorite team because they played nearby, or maybe you just liked their kit. The reasons why you became a fan do not matter, what does matter is that you became a fan for life.
Fortunes wax and wane in football, and today’s title winners are tomorrow’s relegation candidates. None of this matters to us fans because we could not change our allegiances even if we wanted to.
We stay loyal to our teams come rain or shine, and that teaches us about the importance of loyalty in other areas of life.
Never Stop Believing
It is very easy to lose heart when things are not going our way and the world seems to be against us, but watching football can give us the resilience to keep going even when all seems lost.
You learned to never stop believing the first time you saw your team come back from a three-goal deficit with minutes to play, and the joy that swept over you when the winner went in is probably one of your most cherished football memories.
Football teaches us that nothing is over until the final whistle is blown, and learning that lesson makes us more resilient and more dependable people.
Check Out: Top 15 most epic and dramatic last-minute goals in football history.
Learning To Cope With Disappointment
For every football fan who cheers a last-moment winner, there is a football fan who just had the cup of victory dashed from their lips.
Seeing our teams lose in heartbreaking fashion can send us into a funk that lasts for days, but even these dark times teach us valuable lessons.
We learn quickly as football fans that we can’t win them all, and that knowledge makes us more resilient.
A devastating loss or being humiliated by a rival will hurt for a while, but it will not be long before we are back on the horse and thinking about the next game.
If you are like most football fans, you enjoy banter almost as much as you enjoy the game.
Dishing it out to rival fans after an important win makes us feel good, and having to sit back and take it if our team loses is the price we pay for that frivolity.
We sing songs about our rivals, and they sing songs about us. At the end of the day, we leave the stadium together.
Football still has a few unpleasant rivalries, but most supporters have learned to be tolerant and get along.
Many fans now wear half-and-half scarves to games, and some even wear half-and-half kits.
Talent Is No Substitute For Hard Work
Football supporters learn very quickly that talent alone does not guarantee success.
For every player who works hard to reach unparalleled heights, there are dozens of players who squander their talent because they are not prepared to put in a shift on the training pitch. These are the players that frustrate fans the most.
We see their mistakes, and we also see glimmers of the players they could be.
In other sports such as American football, for example, NFL fans learn this lesson every year when their teams select players during the annual college draft.
Many draftees such as Tom Brady of the New England Patriots go on to have glittering careers, but some lose their appetite for hard work as soon as they sign a professional contract and the money starts to roll in.
Bad Behavior Has Consequences
Football is a team sport played by athletes who have to follow strict rules. If you started watching the beautiful game when you were a young child, seeing one of your favorite players being booked or sent off was probably one of the first times you came face to face with consequences.
Football teaches us that bad behavior rarely goes unpunished, and it also reminds us that the people we care about the most often pay the highest price when we step out of line.
Zinedine Zidane is one of the greatest players of all time, but he is most remembered today for being sent off and letting his teammates down in the 2006 World Cup final.
Setbacks Are Not The End
When Manchester United took the field to play the 1958 FA Cup final, they wore shirts with a badge that featured a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Just a few months earlier, eight United players lost their lives when the team’s charter flight crashed shortly after taking off from Munich-Reim Airport.
The Munich Air Disaster could have put an end to the Busby’s Babes era. Instead, the team’s response reminded all of the beautiful game’s fans that even tragic and devastating setbacks can be overcome.
Football is more than just a game. It gives us something to cheer about during our darkest days, and it teaches us valuable life lessons.
When we watch football, we learn that victory and defeat are fleeting and hard work is just as important as talent.
Football makes us more resilient and more tolerant of others, and it fills us with hope and the strength we need to keep going.
When Liverpool legend Bill Shankly was asked if football was a matter of life and death, he replied “I can assure you it’s much more important than that!”