I switched on the World Cup the other night to wind down after work. My home country was playing. I’m normally neutral when it comes to sports. But for kicks, I decided to start cheering for them.
I tensed up when we made a cross. I breathed out when we made a save. And I rose into the air, hands waving, when we scored. Not really, I kind of just sat there and imagined that is the sort of thing I would do to make my solidarity apparent to peers.
But then, we started losing. And I began to sense a change in me.
My mind now divided the teams into ‘us’ and ‘them’. They were the other, the enemy. We were the noble ones striving for right and they were intent on obstructing our path. I would sneer at close-ups of opposing fans. Oh how they boasted, laughing in our faces like the evil, soulless robots they were. This was unjust.
What was happening to me?, I asked myself. From where did this hate emerge?
As I stared at my reflection in the window I searched for whatever traces of innocence that were left within me. Alas, all I could find were black war stripes across my scowling face. I became nothing but a drone in the hallway of history, sworn against his brothers for nothing but color of his uniform.
Oh and then the game finished and I ate a banana.