The Politics of Fútbol

I can hear church bells and falling rain. The swanky grooves of Outkast’s album The Love Below go surprisingly well with church bells. Gray days don’t seem so bad when they are rainy. Gray days aren’t bad at all when they are couched within weeks of bright blue skies–and today is special anyway, because today is the day that Derek arrives. The rain is good for him; it will feel more like home (bwahaha, snow storm!).

I turn on my space heater for a couple minutes and drink hot tea, staving off the chill in solidarity with my friends and family back home, and I read the news. BBC Mundo is a lot easier to understand than El País. For some reason I gravitate toward the sports section, something I rarely do in English. I see that Barcelona vs. Real Madrid is coming up on Wednesday at 10pm.

I’m probably thinking about sports because last night the bar across the street blared el himno sevillana, the “anthem” of Sevilla Fútbol Club:

There are two major Sevillan fútbol clubs, Bétis and Sevilla. Sevilla plays in Nervión, near me, and that is enough to earn my loyalty. I’d like to learn the lyrics and go to a game. I need to buy some red and white.

My loyalty is similarly arbitrary when it comes to the Real Madrid v. Barcelona rivalry, El Clásico. I have been to Madrid and liked it, but have never been to Barcelona; and so I root for Real Madrid. Except when it comes to Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, it’s political; you either affiliate yourself with right-wing pro-Franco Conservatives or Catalán nationalists. Bummer.

Unsure how I felt about separatism and concerned that my choice would reflect my overall attitude regarding Spain in the 1930s (EVERYONE WHO LOOKS AT ME IS JUDGING ME), I took that Political Compass test. The test did nothing to clarify how I felt about secession, but the results would come as no surprise if you played Apples to Apples with me at all over Christmas. For those of you who did not get this pleasure, I will tell you:

The x-axis represents social politics while the y-axis represents economic politics. My red dot falls within the bottom left quadrant, indicating that I am both economically and politically liberal.

FYI: I will pick "George W. Bush" for "Scary," but not if it has already been played. Be creative, people!

According to my results, if I want to surround myself with like minds, I should sit with the blue and red. But when you’re at a fútbol game, you’re saying to the person next to you, “This referee is horrible!” not “Can you believe that Franco guy?” Are politics really the best reason to affiliate yourself with a team? I support the maize and blue because I went to University of Michigan and so did many of my family and friends, not primarily because of the University’s politics. Some of my friends simply root for the underdog, and who cares if that changes every year–or every game. So why not choose Real Madrid just because I like el Parque del Buen Retiro?

Alternative title for this post: “Megan Thinks A Lot And Then Decides It Doesn’t Matter.”

4 thoughts on “The Politics of Fútbol

  1. I sort of disagree that it’s always political. I mean, my fiance’s family supports Real Madrid because they always have, not because they’re right-wing nationalists in any sense. I support el Real because Mario does and, hey, why rock the boat? Soooo feel free to support Madrid because you like El Parque del Buen Retiro.

    • In the end, when it comes to general fandom, I agree with you. BTW, it’s nice to meet another Real Madrid fan! 😀 I think most Americans are Barcelona fans because they recognize Messi from the World Cup.

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