The Ardent Soccer Fan

Richard Katebe-kitweonline
Have you ever been kicked in the back before, by the man sitting a rung above you in a football stadium when a player on the pitch is about to shoot at goal?
Watching soccer in the stadium or on T.V at a local pub can be so much fun, not so much for the excitement and entertaining displays by the players, but for the way soccer fans behave. Situations on the pitch affect fans in different ways.

This is what happens.
A player comes with the ball on the left wing and crosses the ball and the man standing or sitting besides you will be busy moving his feet as if he is the one crossing the ball. A player on the pitch heads the ball goal wards; take a look at the man behind you and you will see him moving his head towards you as if he is heading the ball.

A ball is played into the eighteen yard area, in a goal mouth melee, defenders and strikers scramble for the ball and in panic the defender clears the ball away. The man standing to your left is gnashing his teeth, standing in a tilted posture, head side ward and fidgets with his feet as though he is part of the goal mouth scramble; he kicks forward at the instance of the defender clearing the ball away and bang, he kicks you in the back.

I remember during my primary school days in Kabwe, while watching our school team playing another school in a schools league match in 1978, our deputy headmaster who was an ardent soccer fan sat on his stool by the touchline watching the proceedings of the match. He had tucked his left leg between the legs of his stool. Our school centre forward whizzed past three defenders and unleashed a low hard shot past the goalkeeper to score the opening goal. Our deputy head master was also busy fidgeting with his feet dribbling in his seat, and at the same instance of our centre forward shooting the ball, he kicked out his tucked left foot ,hooking one of the legs of his stool and scooped himself up then fell from his stool on to the ground.

Football fans - kitweonline
And now there is the agony of a penalty kick. This happens either in open play or during a penalty shoot out. When a player steps up to take the spot kick, the guy next to you is not watching, he has turned his back on the screen or pitch with eyes closed. He does not want to see the spot kick being taken and only wants to hear the scream of a goal. The other guy in front of you clasps both his hands on his lips hoping for a miss.

While all this is happening the pressure is on you. You are the type of fan who does not want to be talked to when you are watching the match. Your concentration is on the silver screen or pitch. When your team is under pressure, you move to the edge of your seat with your hands tucked in between your legs. A fan walks into the stadium or in the pub and taps you on the shoulder to ask about the scores you ignore him and focus on watching, you’re gripped with anger and cannot even take it when an opposing fan taunts you when your team is losing. You lose your cool and bang, you punch the other guy!

The same clock seems to wind down at different rates. When your team is on the losing end, you see the clock as winding fast. Your prayers are focused on how much stoppage time will be added for your team to salvage a point or even sneak in a late winner. The man next to you is seeing the same clock differently; the clock seems to be winding slowly to him. He wants the referee to blow the whistle to end the match even before the match is due to end.

Some where back at home, a man is watching on T.V, the Zambia national soccer team playing with Senegal. The Zambia National team scores a goal, and the whole household breaks into a frenzy to celebrate the goal. He runs up to hug his mother in-law at least for once, breaking the cultural barriers that exist between mother and son in-law.

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