The European Championships were great but unfortunately the tournament was accompanied by the eternal problem of bad fans, nationalism and racism. The fans that were most widely discussed were the English fans with their booing of national anthems, breaking into Wembley stadium for the final, and the racist abuse against England players following the final. This appears as just a continuation of decades, many decades, of problems with English football fans (for many years I had a problem supporting English teams at all, still do, mostly because I connected English football directly with the hooliganism of the 1980s, when I started watching football), so this should not be that surprising. However, the problem of these "bad fans" is hardly only an English problem; booing at national anthems happens in every stadium and racism continues being rampant all over footballing Europe, becoming more evident with social media. I am still convinced the vast majority of football fans, English and beyond, are decent people, even the ones that behave in this way!
What is the problem then?
Football is a simple game of kicking a ball in an "us-against-them" contest. While idiots exist in all societies, the simple premise of the game attracts a higher proportion of idiots among the population. Idiocy tends to be enlarged by emotional events such as a football match; add nationalism and a media that pours gasoline on a fire rather than building bridges (including social media, but certainly not excluding the traditional media), and you get the perfect cocktail for idiots to do their thing, while the rest of people wonder who the hell those idiots are!!!???
As a fan I understand the passion: I have also experienced moments of intense disappointment, of injustice, of hating the other team when they score a goal. However, a minimum level of intelligent human beings should realize that these are fleeting emotions that cannot define our lives. That would be idiocy!
I have had long periods of disappointment with football (as I have also shown in this blog), and these were mostly caused by the intensity of hate that I have repeatedly experienced in football: Hate towards other teams, players, fans, countries, races... I still have a really hard time not seeing football as a sport of hate, but I do love the game, the passion and occasional fraternity between fans (that we fortunately also saw in this tournament, but is in my view all too rare), and have decided that I will try to ignore, as far as possible, all these idiots that are a scar not only on football, but to society at large.