A Lost Addiction
About the Author
As a first year medical student, I've had life experiences that spans the entire spectrum of a rainbow. I've planned my life around exams, had lunch dates with various cadavers, and laughed with friends under starless nights while secretly counting down for when the alcohol burns through our livers. (...In that case I guess I would have to count up). But most people will think those moments aren't worth the title of "life experiences" but they're simply not looking at the moments inbetween. Those moments where everyone's sufferings are just bonds of friendships waiting to be made. Or how stressful situations seem impossible to get through. Life experiences always means stresses. And whenever stresses are involved there's only one thing to do---wish for football.
Seriously. When I think back to my undergrad years and how I got through, it was because of football. I followed it like a religion. (Some people actually make it their religion). Seriously. Life just ends up falling around it. "Finish all the work before the weekend match" was the motto. I (and probably many others) worshiped that mantra to the bone that we eventually ended up with no work to do for weeks. Life stresses took a backseat to the beautiful game and we couldn't complain.
But why? Or more importantly how does football, or any sport for that matter make our problems seem meaningless? For millions of fans, its because the stadium became a safe haven from the monsters devouring them inside. For 90 minutes they can just watch the match quietly unfold on the pitch beneath 10,000 screaming fans. And in those 90 minutes, actual life becomes background noise. Or vice-versa, as they ponder through life's problems, football becomes background noise until--boom. Goal.
The banality of a ball crossing a white line means more than--well....a ball crossing a white line. It's fascinating when TV ads use the line "one goal can right all the wrongs in ones life" because for a split second you can actually believe it. But does it really right the wrongs? Does it really justify all the unfairness life shoves down our throats? Obviously not, but for that split second a fan screams with joy-- For that split second where of jumping out of their seat becomes a reflex rather than a voluntary action-- life becomes background noise and it becomes possible to savor those split seconds of ecstasy.
I was an addict. The moments of free time I had in college was filled with reruns of plays, goals, and players. Feeling stressed? Just replay those impossible goals Lionel Messi made possible. Need a laugh? Replay those impossible misses David Villa managed to make possible. Want to see greatness? FC Barcelona (...for anyone else _____insert team name here_____).
Now I mournfully declare myself a recovering addict. Football free for months. But I want my space inside that pitch. I want my background noise and I'm desperately trying to find where I stored those reruns in my brain. Because if there's one thing I've realized, it's that you walk into football matches with more than you come out with. Football doesn't make life problems vanish. It just makes them manageable to deal with. It's no where near a cure, but it's also more than you or I can ever ask for--hell, it's even better. Because how can you really appreciate life's happiness without experiencing the burdens it so gladly offers?
I'm a recovering addict and I want my relapse. NOW.