Why I love to watch football

Two weeks ago, we posed a question in our first ever Tactical Thinker – “Why do you love to watch football?” We accumulated several responses that we can’t wait to divulge to you, but first, I wanted to express why I love the beautiful game, and why I’ve harnessed my love for the game to create one of the top tactics and analysis sites around.

THE CHESS GAME

Growing up, I hated any time commentators or pundits would refer to the game we all know and love as a “chess game”. Chess was far too simplistic to be a fair match for football in both strategy and complexity, I thought. But as I’ve come to appreciate the complexities of chess, I’ve come to appreciate the complexities of football all the more. In both games, there is never one correct solution to scoring or winning the game, and every single game follows a series of events that are different from any other game played before, even if repeated patterns can be observed. This is what I love most about football.

Within all this complexity, you can simultaneously make the game sound incredibly simple. In chess, one player makes a move, and the other reacts. When you boil it down, the exact same could be said for football. As one team has the ball, the other must react within their off-the-ball structures. That in turn forces the team on the ball to adapt their own structures, working to find a solution in the quest to score a goal. In doing so, the opposition must now adapt their own defensive structures to stop a goal from going in, until they are able to regain control of the situation and go on the attack themselves. While all of this sounds so simple, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s not. How each team, player or manager ventures through those various quests can differ a thousand ways. The same 2-1 result could be achieved by two very similar teams playing at the exact same time, but the way in which the match played out will differ on a multitude of different elements. To make matters all the more intriguing, skill and talent don’t always prevail. Sometimes, strategy and tactics prevail instead.

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While one team may have the best talent and skill at the game, the other may have a better strategy for overcoming their opposition. They may win based on luck when their opposition makes a horrible, calamitous error, or through a series of smart maneuvers at crucial stages in the game. This is what makes football so incredibly fascinating to study. Every single game is different, and can be approached in thousands of different ways.

Unsurprisingly for readers of a tactics and analysis website, this was the most common response from our viewership…perhaps even including you!

“I love football because I love to learn more about the game as a coach. I watch games to improve my knowledge, and to have some enjoyment from the teams and players participating in the match.”

– Patrick

Responses like this one from Patrick also remind us that no matter how much we may scrutinize over the game, there are still certain teams and players that we have a love affair or a bias toward. That inherently makes the game more fun, as it creates a rooting interest that we can guide our focus and our energy toward…even if we’re robotic and analytical the other 90% of the time.

UNPREDICTABILITY

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As part of the vast array of ways any given team can approach a football match on any given day, the beautiful game is incredibly unpredictable. Not only is every match worth watching due to the different ways it can be approached in tactics and strategy, but also in the uncertainty over the outcome. No matter how certain an outcome may appear to be, we’ve all seen historic upsets, that no one would have predicted. Outlandish feats like Leicester City winning the Premier League in 2016 and Greece claiming the Euros in 2004 serve as reminders of this unpredictable nature of the game.

“Every match we can learn something new, and every match has a different story to tell.”

– Nicola

No matter how rich in resources a club may be, any team can beat any other on any given day. That, perhaps more than anything, helps turn football into a never-ending pool of awesomeness.

IDENTITY

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It may come as a surprise to readers of this website to hear that football is not my entire identity. However, it will also come as no surprise to hear that football is a MASSIVE part of my identity. I played from the age of three to eighteen, and started coaching at the age of seventeen. There has not been a single summer in my life where I haven’t been involved in the game as either a player or coach. Football has been a massive part of my personal development, growth, my understanding of myself and even in many ways, how the world works. That means that no matter how toxic the game could ever become, football will always be near and dear to my heart, and something I will not be able to stay away from for long. Writing about the beautiful game only allows me to become more entrenched in this identity and realm, as I share my love of the game with thousands of you every single day. Many of our readers feel the exact same way about their own identities, and how football has impacted them personally.

“Football was introduced to me as a seven-year-old during the 2006 World Cup, where the first game I remember watching without any sense of what was going on was the 6-0 rout by Argentina against Serbia, where I still see the clear images of my dad going bonkers every time a goal was scored. As I grew and evolved, I just absorbed myself into football and the reason behind it was simple. The game of football had some magic where 90 minutes of pure adrenaline runs through your veins, keeping you in a constant state of emotions that range from pure, unadulterated joy to blazing red rage.

– Hrishhee (shout out long time reader Hrishhee!)

Football can evoke so many emotions inside of us all, and that’s why it’s incredibly easy to be swept up into the world of the beautiful game. You don’t even need to have played or coached to understand this fact, or to be in love with the beautiful game. As part of the emotional side of the game, it even has the power to take us away from the stressors of life, and provide an outlet for us to get lost in a completely different world.

“I believe many of us, myself included, watch football as a way of getting away from reality. During those 90 minutes nothing else matters, playing in or supporting a team is like taking up a new identity where the outside world is secondary. We find common ground with people we have nothing common with and vice versa which gives a sense of belonging we otherwise would not find.”

– Max

Football helps to provide us a sense of community, where we can share our identity with one another and develop bonds and relationships with others. The explosion of social media has allowed this to amplify to extraordinary heights, where a website like ours can connect with readers from over two-hundred nations in the world. There’s many niceties about football, including the elegance in the way the game is played at times, but that more than anything is what makes the beautiful game so beautiful.


So there it is! Why I love to watch football. Be sure to check out more of our Tactical Thinkers, and share your thoughts on the next one to have your words feature in one of our articles. Also be sure to follow us on social media @mastermindsite to never miss an update and consider becoming a paid subscriber to help us continue to grow our website. Thanks for reading, supporting, and answering this question alongside me, and we’ll see you for the next one.

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