All I Know About Life I Learnt from Watching Football (II)

Good morning everyone, thanks for reading the first post of the Contemplations of A Football Lover series that I started last week Wednesday, the series continues today with post number two, I hope you all enjoy it like you enjoyed the first one.


I love twitter, I really do. And part of why I love it is that because of the 140 character limitation, users have to express their thoughts in short precise statements. It also allows for snappy and witty clapbacks. One of the more memorable ones was the time that someone presumably female, tweeted something along the lines of a guy asking her out for the first time and she rejecting his advances in order to test him at the time, only for her to find out barely weeks later that he has already started dating someone else. And another person presumably a guy replied her along the lines of “what do you do when you get to an ATM and it is out of service? Do you continue to wait or you move to another one that has service?”

That witty exchange, brings me to a question that a number of people have asked me over the last few years on my thoughts on relationships. Usually my reply is that I have always maintained a similar attitude to relationships that Atletico Madrid FC of Spain maintains towards striker transfers. For those not familiar with football, Atletico Madrid is currently the third biggest club in Spanish football, but in the last eleven or so years they have played and replaced six strikers, Spanish Fernando Torres was replaced by Argentine Sergio Aguero and Uruguayan Diego Forlan, who were replaced by Colombian Radamel Falcao followed by Spanish Diego Costa, who has now made way for current hotshot, Frenchman Antoine Griezman. Thus I frequently get berated for that attitude, with people pointing out that I am plagued with emotional laziness and stinginess, a roving eye, and selfishness induced fear of commitment. Some if they are feeling extra spiteful tell me it is why I am still single, because women as it is have a sort of radar for detecting people that have my kind of attitude  and keeping them at arm’s length.

What I do for those of them who try to hear me out however, is that I point out Atletico replacing strikers on the average of every two years is not the club’s fault. In every of the five cases, it was the players who saw better offers and decided to leave. If for anything Atletico is reputed for showing love to players and even when they leave, they have nothing but good words about the club, with some even deciding to go back like the proverbial prodigal son (e.g the aforementioned Fernando Torres). I also take care to point out that in all cases of the five strikers that have left, each of them was the main striker with no competition for his spot and with a great deal of trust and affection invested in them by the club and its supporters. So replacing them when they leave is not a sign of a lack of emotional investment, it is just a desire to move on. A Yoruba anecdote immediately comes to mind here which goes thus “if you die because of one (insert gender as appropriate) thousands of (insert gender as appropriate) will pass over your grave.” It is as simple as that.

That, folks, is the point of today’s piece. No one holds your happiness in their hands such that if you lose them, you will never be happy again, just like the message in that Beyonce Knowles song “nobody should ever get the thinking that they are irreplaceable.” One thing that never fails to irritate me in relationship talk is when a guy comes moaning that “all women are gold diggers” usually after a girl has ditched him for a richer guy or rejected his advances because he isn’t rich enough. It has always been my belief that any man or woman has the right to seek to better his/her life in any lawful way she can, so a woman has the right to leave a man and vice versa, no woman/man   is under any compulsion to be loyal to you unless they are  your blood or  your slave (which as far as I know is illegal). So holding a grudge with a lady/guy for ditching you/refusing to date you is like to use the analogy I started the piece with “holding a grudge against an ATM that is out of service. Your heartbreak and wailing will not make the ATM work so what is the use? Why don’t you be like Atletico Madrid and be determined to move on to better things/ “an ATM that works?”

Of course it is not only relationships that involves loss or rejection. People fail at job interviews, people fail exams/ get rejected at their schools of choice. Loved ones die etc. and then it feels like one is in a dark place. But if like Atletico Madrid one tries to develop the mindset that something or someone else is out there to replace the one that left, usually you find that replacement. Of course it would be very insensitive to equate human loses with something as mundane as football transfers, but no matter how deep loss is felt, hope that tommorrow will be better than today must never be lost.

There is one other thing you need to learn from Atletico Madrid though, it is that whatever you do, try and give your best and your all so that if you experience loss, you can say “I fulfilled my own part of the contract with this person/thing, it is not my fault that the other party didn’t uphold theirs”. On a final note an example of another club in Spanish football Atletico’s richer neighbors Real Madrid, Real once had Raul Gonzalez who created plenty of records for the club, when Raul left, the question was whether the club was going to get a player who can break those records. Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul’s replacement came and broke all the records faster than Raul spent creating them.  If that doesn’t convince you of today’s message, I doubt if anything else can.


To be continued

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