We can turn the world around...
when we get serious about responsibility for action.
Hooligans. The word conjures up images of thugs running amok, smashing windows and damaging anything they can get their hands on. No respect for property or others with an opposing view. Their answer to opposition is violence and destruction.
There is much talk of peace and the gentle way these days. Is this because of the constant images thrust in our face by the media of war, death and destruction? What has changed in the last hundred or so years? Absolutely nothing. Sure there are no world wars, as such, now; however, we seem to be fighting a continual world war against terrorism.
Sport, among other things, is an escape. We can play it, we can watch it. It takes us away from the helter-skelter of everyday life. Sport can be enjoyable, it can provide you with the satisfaction of mastering a skill, it can form friendships, it can teach you how to interact in a group, it can teach you how to win and it can teach you how to lose. So many great things to be gleaned from sport.
Therefore, where does the hooligan fit in? Euro 2016 in France has attracted a wealth of humanity from Europe and around the world to watch the beautiful game played at one of its’ highest levels. The majority of punters are there for just that. Unfortunately, we do not see that reported in the media. We see men (I have not seen any women), police, tear gas, water cannon and blood.
As much as we are horrified by these acts of violence and scenes of animalistic behaviour, we cannot seem to rid ourselves of it.
It is time for this blight on humanity to have a good, long, hard look at themselves. It is also time for the powers that be to take the hard line and stop pussy footing around the issue.
I know the team and the country are basically not responsible for the behaviour of a few immoral individuals. However, it is time to send these countries home. If the team remains in the competition the hooligan element will also remain. It is time for some tough love.
Our media feeds us these images. Our children see these images fed ad nauseam. We begin to see that this can be an acceptable way to behave at a sporting event. We have a responsibility to start making an effort to fix things. Where are the images of the well behaved fan at the game with family and friends enjoying sport for what it should be? Do not show these things. Do not continue to fuel the fire.
The same applies to violence on the sporting field. Sure, some games are tough. They are based around physical contact. However, surely we are above being fed repeated images of head high tackles and on field punch ups which dominate sport bulletins above and beyond all the fantastic things that happen on a myriad of sporting fields in a variety of sports played by both males and females around the world.
Deliberate acts of violence have no place in our world, let alone around our sporting arenas. Our children see a lot. Their brains are like sponges. They absorb so much so quickly. The younger years are where they begin to develop characters, personalities, opinions, ideologies and beliefs. They are continually bombarded by all the goings on of the outside world. The problem arises that some people begin to accept that this is normal behaviour; nothing wrong with it.
There is nothing wrong with having an opposing view. It is normal. However, it is reprehensible when it leads to violence. We deserve better than that. Our children deserve better than that. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of media outlets to responsibly report celebrations of human achievement and mastery of skill – both male and female – not violence. It is also the responsibility of administration to take a strong stand against acts of violence, both on and off the field. Speak up. It is not OK. We all should be able to feel safe both on and off a sporting field. We all should be able to enjoy the beautiful game – whatever that game might be.