What the World Cup can tell us

The World Cup takes place every four years and this is the year that it is happening. If you have been following the football news on this blog, there was a post about how football, and the repeated impact of the ball on the head, can cause dementia.

But more importantly, there are effects that extend beyond physical deterioration. One is the impact of the “win at all costs” message that seems to be be perpetuated within the football industry.

Fair play seems to have been slowly eroded. Sportmanship appears a thing of the past, and being sporting is being soft; giving the opponent an edge.

The problem with this sort of thinking is that it promotes winning at all costs, such as through hoodwinking the referee, play acting, cheating in order to gain an advantage through a sending off or suspension.

What does it do for one’s mental health if we are so concerned with winning, that it overshadows how we view others and our actions?

You can view this pervasive attitude during many games. A player may have been guilty of a contravention, but when he is shown a card he may shrug his shoulders wiggle his fingers, and shake his head like the referee has made an incorrect decision.

This sort of behaviour influences impressionable minds of teenagers watching the game, and can distort their sense of right and wrong.

Football seems to be breeding delusion.

It teaches people to think they are never wrong, the fault lies with the decision, and that any admission of guilt – perhaps a bad tackle – only results in hampering your own team in the long run.

The price we pay for success is delusion and narcissism.

VAR was supposed to stop players harassing the referee. Now they surround and harass him to go to a video decision when he decides against them.

It is a new world from old beginnings, and for those looking for change, unfortunately it is still tinged with the past.

When the soft metal group Poison topped the pop charts, critics were quick to slam their style as “light keyboard music with guitars”, “hair metal” and all other derisory terms. But they proved that far from being deluded, going against the grain was refreshing, and there would always be a place for it.

And so football could do with a refreshing view, a new outlook. One where winning at all costs is de-emphasised in favour of more honourable values. Because if that sort of deluded narcissism is indulged, you will find more individuals going about their ways believing they are right, and society will implode.