Since listicles, as they are called, are so popular these days, I thought I’ll write one of them. Trust me, I didn’t know they are called listicles either. Sounds creepy. Anyway, that’s besides the point. I know none of you are probably reading this, and are most likely to just skim through the headline of all the points, which is what I usually do with listicles.
Getting to the point, I have been watching football for around five years now. I support Arsenal. Strangely enough, I never knew about Arsenal (or EPL or football) during The Invincibles’ era. I began following football in around 2008/2009, and I don’t even remember why. But over the years, following Arsenal’s games has moulded me into an ardent follower of the team and its ethics, and now I’m a fan of the game itself. I’m not forcing girls to follow football. Just merely putting down the plus points. They’re just my thoughts, so don’t start an argument at the end of it. Peace. : )
Here are 8 reasons why girls must follow football. (I’m writing from personal experience)
1. You stand out among your girlfriends: From what I have seen, girls seldom follow football. In India, I mean. (If you’re Dutch or something, this listicle isn’t for you). But in India, there are movies like Bend It Like Beckham, where a girl playing football has been glorified so much! That’s how rare it is. You’ll stand out among all your girlfriends for that reason alone. When you’re low, feeling like you’re a nobody, this will probably make you realise how different you are from the rest and it’ll make you feel important.
2. You can chill with guys easily, if you have to: A couple of days ago, one of my friends, Bird, certified me as a “bro.” It was during a casual conversation we were having with two other friends, Rahul and Guntoo. He said, “Dude she plays football. She’s a bro.” Well, I liked being called a bro. It’s like being in the inner circle. Not saying I want to be a guy. I like being a girl and I love my girlfriends. But sometimes, it’s nice to be in the loop when guys are discussing football and Fantasy Premier League all the time and you can contribute instead of staying mute, or instead of being made to hang out with some other guy’s girlfriend simply because apparently “girls can’t talk football.”
3. Your weekends are made (and for cheap): I think most people like to hangout at pubs or cafes on weekends, and that can be an expensive affair! If you’re a football follower, however, it’s the opposite. You tend to ensure that there are no meetings when you have to watch your team’s game. If my friends call me out for a drink on a Saturday evening, or if my parents call me to visit someone, the first thing I do is check Arsenal’s schedule. If it’s to someone’s house, I ask them if they have subscribed to Star Sports. If we’re going out to a cafe, I call and find out if they’ll keep the match on. (Most of the times, cafes and pubs in India prefer playing cricket (even old matches) over live football). Anyway, there’s nothing I look forward to as much as a good match! You can call your friends over, make popcorn, watch the match and have a really fun weekend at zero cost. International breaks and those two no-football months after EPL is over are almost torturous! I’m telling you, the sport is addictive!
4. Football increases your general knowledge: I’m not even kidding. Once you begin to follow football, you learn of new names, new countries, new languages. You learn to connect names to countries. You know how they say that men are better at geography? It’s probably so because they follow sports. After I started following football, I learnt about so many countries, like Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Bosnia-Herzegovina, etc. I learnt to distinguish players country-by-country just by learning their names. Of course that’s possible only to an extent, with names like Nistelrooij, Vrij, Sneijder, or Neuer, Gotze, Muller. I’ll never know where Papa Bouba Diop is from by reading his name.
5. It will be one of the few constants in your life: You know, I don’t even know how football happened to me. One day, I said “I sort of like Arsenal.” And being one of the most pampered cousins, I was suddenly showered with Arsenal merchandise from all directions. Calendars, jerseys, mugs, flags, books, (used) tickets to Emirates, banners, scarves, posters, piggy banks, my God! Name it, I have it! Before even I knew it, everyone around me had made me a fan. Automatically, I had some direction to follow in my life. I began following all of Arsenal’s games, read up books and articles and made it a vital part of my life. My yoga sir says, “Nothing in a human is permanent. Your body changes and deteriorates. Your thoughts change, thereby making your mind fickle. But your soul is the only permanent thing.” I think when you support a football team, you put not your body or mind, but your soul in it. Your support for a team becomes the only permanent thing, the only constant in your life, when everything around you and inside you changes.
6. It increases the success rate in your career: Ok, I’m not entirely sure how it will work in something like an IT profession. Maybe you can build good rapport with your boss, provided he’s a football follower and impress him enough to give you a promotion. But if you’re in the field of journalism, like I am, knowing football or any sport for that matter, can put you on TV. Since women sports journalists are always in demand, if you know the sport, you’ll be sure to get hired. I think this works mostly in TV media though.
7. It makes you feel like part of a community: When the player of your favourite team scores, you get off your sofa at home and jump, hop and dance all around your house. All this for something that has no direct impact on your life whatsoever. When a player from your team gets injured, you cover your mouth watching the replay of the Stoke player (most likely) ramming into your player. You swear at the guy who made the foul, along with a million others who are swearing in their houses at the same guy. I don’t think such massive numbers ever come into consensus over anything else! So if your team loses and you’re sad, you have a million people to share your sorrow and no one will ridicule your sadness, except maybe your mom. You are a part of a huge football family, and you can be proud of it.
8. You’ll be that awesome person destroying gender stereotypes: I can actually count the number of girlfriends who follow football on one hand. Actually, on three fingers. Really! I’m not being sexist or feminist fail or whatever else you might name me. It’s the truth. In fact, the only other football fan, who is also a friend, Sanjana, suggested to me this point. Seriously girls, sometimes, guys just like making fun of girls by asking them easy questions when they know that girls don’t know the answer. It makes the whole gender look dumb. Take a look at this video. It’s of a guy asking Mumbai girls questions like “Which country does Messi play for” and girls are responding with answers like “Chelsea.” “Who will win in a match between Netherlands and Holland?” is a question, and the girls pick one of the two. :-/ It’s not the girls’ fault that they aren’t interested in football! But these kind of videos are trying to make the whole gender look dumb, just by asking a handful of girls something they aren’t interested in. So it would be nice to defy the guys their dumb laughs once in a while. Shaving your head or walking around with armpit hair (ew) like the Fastrack ad encourages you to, is not an entirely pleasant way of destroying gender stereotypes. You can be a little more moderate and follow football instead.
That’s all! A good way to start is by following the English Premier League, which airs on weekends in the evening on Star Sports. Or contact me and I’ll guide you. I’m not forcing you to watch football, but you’ll never know how awesome it is, until you give it a shot.
Disclaimer: I sent this to my friends to review before publishing it. They all warned me about getting into gender-bias arguments n stuff. I don’t mean to demean anyone or any gender through this post. Just saying that to follow football is a healthy habit. Sigh. I hate having to put disclaimers. I don’t like to people who pick on everything that’s written. I’m a peaceful person and mean no harm. Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading it. If you did, thank you! : ) If you didn’t, well, go read something else. : ) The internet has lots to read.
Here is another listicle I had written before listicles became mainstream.