Fanaticism may sound harsh or extreme in describing the subject but when we consider the definition of 'Fanaticism' as given by Wikipedia, it would make better sense.
Fanaticism as described by wikipedia refers to 'a belief or behavior involving uncritical zeal, particularly for an extreme religious or political cause or in some cases sports, or with an obsessive enthusiasm for a pastime or hobby.' People involved in it are called 'Fanatics.'
Most times, in sports, especially football, we call ourselves fans but are we truly fans or fanatics?
According to Winston Churchill, a fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject....Lol. The difference between a fan and a fanatic is that while both have an overwhelming liking or interest in a given subject, behaviour of a fanatic will be viewed as violating prevailing social norms, while that of a fan will not violate those norms.
As Nigerians, we support lots of top European clubs, namely, Manchester United, Chelsea FC, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona (my club... :D), Real Madrid, Manchester City, AC Milan, Inter Milan, etc....abeg, no vex if I no mention your club for here;you fit include am for the comments...:)
The situation is such that each time any of these clubs is playing, their supporters are in high-spirits and would do virtually anything to watch them play; that is why we have lots of viewing centres all around. Some people, who do not enjoying going to viewing centres would stay home and if the lights are out, power their generators to watch the game. Some people who perhaps are on transit, use their phones and pocket radio sets to follow-up on the action. These actions all show our love and support for all these clubs. However, it is often said that 'too much of everything is bad' and that is exactly the issue we have to talk about.
If you have ever been to a viewing centre to watch football matches, you would agree with me that most fans do not know how to conduct themselves; you can hear them abusing and even assaulting fans of other clubs for no just cause; you would also have seen fans whose team lost, beating-up fans of the team that won theirs; you would have also heard of or seen husbands abuse/assault their wives because they wanted to discuss family issues while a Champions League final was going on...Lol.
You may have also seen or heard of brothers and family members engage in bitter rivalry because they support different clubs; If you visit www.goal.com and read comments from articles involving rival clubs like Real Madrid and Barca, you would be amazed and amused at the way some Nigerians insult, curse and threaten fellow Nigerians just because of Messi and Ronaldo...Lol. I am also aware of some people who use their last dime and even borrow money to bet for their clubs and when they eventually lose, they start fighting members of the rival club over refereeing blunders and other oversights...smh. I have even heard of someone who committed suicide because his team lost(not confirmed though but I won't be surprised if it's true). If you know you are guilty of any of these instances except of course, the suicide part(abeg ooooo...Lol), ask yourself: Am I a fan or a fanatic?
Football matches are meant to be enjoyed, probably with friends and family, over some bottles of beer or water or soft drinks or whatever; but never should we become more enthusiastic than the players and club managers themselves. I am a staunch Barcelona fan and whether they win or lose, I enjoy watching them play and I would never argue with anybody because their competence and quality can be seen and attested to by all and sundry. Some arguments are healthy but most times, we take them way too farrrrrr and often end up attacking personalities other than the issues involved.
Meanwhile, before you start tearing your 'shokoto', ask yourself: these Messi and Ronaldo I'm killing myself about, do they even know I exist? Do these clubs write me personal 'thank you' mails or even pay me for breaking my head for them? When my team loses a match, do the players not still receive their fat weekly earnings??? If I get injured while arguing over a match, does the team send me medical allowance??? If my club, Chelsea, wins this year's EPL, will it guarantee me automatic UK Citizenship? If Rooney misses one penalty, will Sir Fergie ban him from playing for Man-U? If Ronaldo wins Ballon D'or, will he attach my name along-side his, mention me on twitter or dedicate the award to me ??? If my team wins the Champions League, will I take it to the bank and withdraw money? Then again, why can't we show same love and support to our very own indigenous NPL teams, such as Enyimba, Sunshine Stars, Sharks, Warri Wolves, etc...?