Soccer Crazy

This was written in November, 2012

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I’ve never been much of a sports guy so it’s no wonder that a big part of Brazilian culture boggles me. For the last 6 weeks I’ve been living in a república, a shared apartment for students (except this particular place is mostly rented by people who graduated several years ago). They are all, without exception, big soccer fans. The television is almost always on and almost always tuned to a soccer game or a program geared towards soccer fans, of which there are many. And when the TV isn’t on, the guys are talking about what? Soccer. When a game is on, their soccer buddies come over and, when their team scores, it’s as if they just won a new Mercedes!

When the news of the ‘new car’ reaches their brain, they run to the window and yell with all of their might the name of their team. I usually joke that one doesn’t even need to watch soccer since all it takes is having ears in order to know who scored. Things can get ‘heated’ when someone from the losing team, who lives in the same or neighboring apartment complex, hears their team being insulted by a fan of the winning team. These insults often end up being about the mother of one of the fans but it never lasts too long since the game is all important and ends up winning back the attention of the fans.

My personal view is that it’s all “bread and circuses” for the people to be diverted (hence the word diversão) from being political. It’s not that sports are necessarily a bad influence but I find the focus here to be extreme and unbalanced. Right now as I’m finishing up this article, the regular news is gorging itself with the coverage of Fluminense football club having won the Brasileirão championship.

One thing I’ll give the fans, though…they understand passion.

3 thoughts on “Soccer Crazy

  1. Is it like that all year around?

    Also I’m curious to know if you’ve had any conversations with Brazilians about your statement, that Brazil’s soccer culture is really just “bread and circuses”. Ive never thought of that before and I am really interested to know more about it, and if it is a thought share by other Brazilians too.

  2. Yeah, some Brazilians express similar views. Usually people who don’t like football in the first place. Makes you wonder if it’s just a rationalization to support their (pre-existing) preferences.

    I’m only vaguely interested in football myself but I think Brazil would lose quite a bit of its character if football just disappeared one day.

  3. Hello! I’m Brazilian, and I can say that soccer is really a strong aspect of our culture. It’s rare to find someone who does’t like it. I’m not a big fan of soccer – I just cheer when it’s the World Cup – but almost everybody here is a big fan. I believe that they take advantage on this passion to divert people from what’s really going on in politics. As an example, the elections always coincide with the world cup (same year) – so, in my opinion, people don’t think about election, candidates, whatever related to politics. They only worry about soccer. Even the news on TV are more focused on the games… In spite of it all, I think that if soccer just “disappeared” one day, like Francis said, we would lose a lot of our identity.

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