Many people are frustrated with Corona in everyday life, some even panic. That is why we can be grateful that there is therapy for sports fans against the corona frustration: football.
Anyone who thinks that football is the most important side issue in the world underestimates it. This is especially evident in times of pandemics. When I first considered lifting the professional football lockdown, the criticism was loud and varied. Essentially, three objections have been raised. Firstly, professional football makes no sense for empty stadiums. Second, since football is the opposite of social distancing, the players should be permanently tested on Corona, and that would be an unbearable privilege compared to the rest of the population. And thirdly, it is mainly about the money, namely the enormous sums of money from sponsorship, advertising income and broadcasting rights.
All of that is true, but it is irrelevant. Even naive minds should have known for a long time that professional football is a billion dollar business. The problem with the long-term privilege of testing is probably gone now, as there is now a wealth of options for regular people to get tested for Covid-19.
Photo series with 14 photos
Then the real “footballing” question remains about whether games by professionals in empty stadiums make sense. The enthusiasm of the fans is of course an integral part of the football experience. But the Bundesliga matches under the sign of Corona and especially the Champions League tournament in Lisbon have shown that the commitment of the players and the technical possibilities of television can create a thoroughly exciting atmosphere. Bayern’s 8-2 win against Barcelona was a game for all ages – especially those on the screens.
If you consider the worldwide, ever-growing enthusiasm, football is the game of games – which is probably also due to the fact that it is a team sport particularly suited to television broadcasts. But what’s so fascinating about it?
The world of the game is better than reality
Games take us to paradise of the essential. The playing field is a cherished world in which everything is done well. The rules of the game guarantee a correct order in which you always know exactly what to do. As a viewer, you immediately understand every situation. Everything is manageable, there is nothing threatening and the experiences ultimately meet expectations. Therefore the world of the game is better than reality. It offers the absolute experience of the fulfilled moment and lets go of the great feelings that we can no longer receive in daily life. Just think of the Gnabry Gate.
Everyday life is usually frustrating. We are faced with overly complex problems and everything that happens can always be different. This is consistent with the clinical picture of depression. And no one is immune from boredom, loneliness and fear. The pandemic has now exacerbated this everyday situation into panic.
And that brings us to the therapeutic function of corona football: there is no better cure for depression than the pleasure of playing. And so it is good that the ball will start rolling again in September. Even then, we will still have to reluctantly follow state-imposed rules on mouthguards and social aloofness. But how enlightening then is the access to the magic circle of the rules of the game that we love.
Schiller was right: a person is only fully human where he plays. And we can add: where he can see the best players in the world.
About the author: Norbert Bolz (67) is a media and communication theorist. Until his retirement in June 2018, he was professor at TU Berlin. Bolz has been active on Twitter since 2012. Under the motto “The truth in one sentence” he publishes conservative aphorisms about current affairs.