Football and me – it’s complicated

17 Mar 2023

Jakob Jung loves football. But over the years, the Comparative European History student's relationship with the sport has become quite complicated. For Vox, he is going on the lookout to replace the football-shaped hole in his heart. This week, he talks about how football became so complicated in the first place.

My interest for football began quite late. Living in Ireland while in primary school, football wasn’t as much on my radar as hockey and hurling (a crazy Irish sport). Only after I moved back to Germany a few years later, my love for football was ignited. It was the time of Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund and their style of football fascinated me. And, like for many German boys, watching eventually became a gateway for joining a football club myself.

I enjoy playing football – and I have made many new friends playing it. It doesn’t need much to understand the rules and play together, which, for me, is the whole magic of it. However, there is a much more complicated side to my favourite sport – and also a much darker one.

‘I had enough of the constant violence, corruption, and hyper-capitalism’

Even people not interested in football could probably not escape last year’s controversies surrounding the FIFA world cup in Qatar. And, like many others, I had enough of the constant violence, corruption, and hyper-capitalism in football. So, I escaped Messi’s magic and ignored most of the world cup games, although with a heavy heart.

Since then, it just hasn’t been the same and my love of football is still heavily damaged. So, where to go from here? How should I deal with my once ardently loved sport that now feels so alien to me? I’d like to think that after denial, anger, bargaining and depression, I have reached the fifth stage of grief: acceptance. And as part of that, I have decided to widen my horizon and try out some of the other sports outside the football pitch.

After all, the Radboud Sports Centrum prides itself with offering more than eighty sports. And, from a purely statistically standpoint, the right one must be out there. So, for the next few months, I will make my way through the courses and ticket hours, sharing my experiences in this column. And I invite you to discover the joys and challenges of other sports with me.

Read Jakob Jung's blogs here

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