Jul 3, 2010

Day 3: Football - it's in my genes

It's almost time for the Argentina-Germany game so let me hear you say it


I love the World Cup. I don't follow football as much as my sister and don't know too many players or anything but I love watching it during the World Cup. It's one of the few sports I find interesting (and understand!), plus I think it's also a cultural-genetic-hereditary thing. I'll explain in a bit, but first -

- yes, it *is* football. When you kick a ball with your foot, it's called football. It's not football when you run around a field passing the ball to each other, tackling each other to the ground. Yes, I'm looking at you Aussie rules "football" fans and yes, you American "football" fans too. But back to what I was saying....

Calcutta, the city I grew up in has 2 major football clubs - Mohun Bagan and East Bengal and when they play, the fans can get pretty aggressive.  We also love to claim Baichung Bhutia as our own. Anyway, so for this reason, Bengalis (or Bongs, as we are "fondly" known) are pretty passionate about football. What we're also passionate about is Brazil and Argentina. Football is big in West Bengal (the state in which Calcutta is, for the uninitiated) and if India *ever* qualified for the World Cup, I'm willing to bet anything that the most passionate supporters will be from Bengal. Anyway, so every World Cup the city is divided into its Blue and Yellow factions and well, things can get pretty heated.

I'm not sure exactly when this Brazil-Argentina obsession started but it's pretty strong and I can tell you I was being very un-Calcuttan & un-Bengali by supporting Netherlands last night. Haha ;) So I Googled to see if I could find any answers & I found this (read it!). There were clashes in Bangladesh between Argentine & Brazilian football fans. FYI, Bangladesh & West Bengal share the same language, culture, food etc, back from when we used to be the same country...so there's a shared passion for football as well.

The article says the Bengali obsession for Argentina & Brazil has to do with Pele & Maradona but doesn't explain much else. But anyway, it does explain my point - football, is my genes (watching it, not playing it).

India may have a long way to go till they qualify for the World Cup (if you're interested, this article I read on the BBC website explains a few things about the dismal state of Indian football). In the meanwhile, as the article says "Bengalis are passionate people" and I'm going to cheer loud and hard tonight so let me hear it one more time:



Vikram said...

East Bengal V Mohan Bagan = Brazil V Argentina. A perfect Sunday morning Robi Da'er Chaa'er dokaaner adda topic. Not to mention the occassional "Upore Neel akaash, neeche shobooj ghaash, taar upore ekti cheetah, taar naam cheema". The rather descriptive comparison drawn between a second rate Nigerian import and legends like Pele. Football, it's in every bengali

Anonymous said...

Surprise...one thing we don't agree on! I go for England (even though they continue to disappoint me year after year) and Germany. And Germany won! =) I used to religiously follow the English Premier League back in India...but now, no cable means no sport.