In my tracks on full speed towards Brother Lekan’s shop to watch Arsenal football club play, I stopped for a few seconds and said God thank you for football; thank you for the premier league. If not, what would my weekends look like? What would I look forward to after closing from work on Friday afternoons?
You see, that feeling you get when your team scores a last minute winning goal is simply indescribable; and for me as an Arsenal fan, it is even more priceless. Football Has made me do incredible things.
Here’s one I recall: Arsenal vs Leicester City FC last season. The game was tied 1-1. Mesut Ozil had a free kick. It was the last kick of the game. And then, he flicked it perfectly unto the head of Danny Welbeck and into the goal post it went! I raised my hands in jubilation so high that the ceiling fan cut me. Blood was trickling but I didn’t care. I didn’t even notice; no pain felt. It was after the match that Uncle Joe told me that I was injured. He also advised me not to kill myself in the process of watching ball; that these people (footballers) do not even know me. Rather, I was the one paying 100 Naira to watch them. Quite true but right there and then, I was too happy to care.
Football is a spirit. It is a spirit that transcends age, religion, social – status, and even language. Just because of football, a boy weighing over 145 kg jumped on me because Marcus Rashford also scored the last kick of the game against Hull City Fc. We were blinded by Joy. I was ecstatic for Rashford because he is young, talented and handsome. Also, a 67 year old Igbo man carried me sky high when Arsenal defeated Chelsea 3-0 at the Emirates stadium. I wondered where he got the energy from?
Football brings indescribable happiness, yet it also has the capacity to bring bitter sadness. I dare say, no other activity in the world packs the whole range of emotions within 90 minutes (120 sometimes) the way football does it. I remember when Arsenal lost the chance to go top of the table on goal difference above Manchester City after our game with Swansea, with Theo Walcott hitting the post twice. I was so angry, I was talking to myself on the street. People taught I was mad. Another time PSG lost a Ligue 1 match I was expecting them to win. I was so angry, I snapped at Mum and Sisters.
Do you know why people with full Dstv subscription would leave the confines of their homes, and go to bars or viewing centres to watch matches usually under tremendous heat or there even stand? Because everyone else is a Pep Guardiola/Jose Mourinho and knows the team and how to win it more than the coaches on TV; then, they argue amongst themselves. That itself is a sense of bountiful entertainment. Though occasionally, it goes overboard.
Let’s just take a minute to thank God for those that invented the beautiful game and all those who take part in it for giving me and millions of other people around the world a reason to truly live, and earnestly look forward to the weekends.
God bless Football!
My favourite team is Arsenal, what’s yours?