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Musing #14: Euro Mania

It is really odd for someone to be excited about the Euro football tournament without having any association whatsoever with the continent. Perhaps, it is odder still for one who doesn’t watch the various football leagues (though I admit that following the table standings and statistics over the course of a year is a bit mesmerizing).

What then governs the love of this tournament? Well, for me it is not this tournament in particular but all international football tournaments including, of course, the World Cup. I guess part of it is what you are brought up on. I have my vague childhood memories of watching only international football tournaments that were broadcast over the terrestrial network in the early 90s. I somehow still recollect the blocky stick figure mascot of the Italia 90, having watched it on a B&W Crown TV set with my Dad and brother.

Another aspect is the passion and rarity of these tournaments. Any tournament that occurs once in every 4 years is bound to get anyone excited for a lot changes occur over the course of that period. The same can be seen in the players who know that a similar opportunity won’t arise for another 24 (World Cup) to 48 months (Euro), unlike annual league tournaments. Also, there is the passion of playing for your country rather than a club. Such charm has been lost in the sport of cricket that this country is so mad about on account of over saturation.

These tournaments also happen to coincide with specific occasions. During the school and college years, the beginning of the tournament was marked by the last week of my summer vacation. During graduation and post-graduation, it coincided with the end of the annual examinations. And now, the coincidence is with the arrival of the rains in Mumbai which has actually been true for every year in my life.

With the power of nostalgia, you can’t but help love something that has been part of various key moments of your life. However, from a purely objective point of view, the average ranking of the Euro 2016 teams comes out to be 20.67 as against 21.63 for World Cup 2014. So, this makes it the best football tournament on the planet and that is something worth watching!

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