Karl Marx said religion is the opium of the people, alluding to the fact that religion helps the average man escape the harsh realities of life. Nowadays, sport has become that opium for most men and, like the real opium, it has an addictiveness that has assumed dangerous dimensions.
News about violence in sports in today’s world leaves much to be desired. What makes the situation worse is the craze put up by fanatics of foreign football clubs who would stop at nothing to demonstrate their loyalty. These sets of people are such that stake bets for games which their clubs are highly likely to lose. Thereafter, their respective families suffer the brunt of an aggression from the loss. While they are able to manage their shamefacedness with their fellow fan friends who belong to rival clans of the league, their family members may not be so fortunate and may end up being victimised.
In the sport of football for instance, right from the top rung of the administrative ladder to the local league matches on the field of play, there has been a culture of greed and violence over the years. As a result of this, youths have learnt degeneracy and moral bankruptcy from the authorities who have encouraged indolence through sports gambling.
Since the gambling companies have begun to flourish on the whims of the regulators, they have emerged a multi-billion naira industry, making it even more difficult for unemployed youth to engage themselves in productive labour as opposed to running after uncertain riches.
Like a wise man pointed out, they have failed to realise that whatever one does not work for does not enhance one’s worth. Along with the folly of preferring an imaginary type of wealth, gamblers waste the bulk of their time scheming and hoping for a breakthrough that never comes.
Taking a critical look at the implications of being a fanatical supporter of a sports club, one is confronted with some points for sober reflection:
- There is never a star sports fan; only star players.
- Those players who are celebrated on the field couldn’t have been spectacles if they had only been spectators all their lives.
- Fans don’t win prizes, only the active players do.
It is not bad to gain the bragging rights and sense of belonging that come with being a sports fan, but what does it really yield when it becomes a man’s sole escape to happiness and fulfillment? It yields heartaches – and sometimes death!