Blowing a whistle on sport

As far as I can tell, there is no official mental disorder relating to sports fanaticism.

This, in a world where we obsess over reality shows about hoarders, body dysmorphics and narcissistic presenters, is surely a serious oversight.

Serious Sports Fanaticism Disorder (I get naming rights, I reckon, unless some international fancy sports body wants to claim them for a zillion dollars) has been massively prevalent in my world this week, what with the collision of THE Rugby Game and some silly people running around kicking balls in Brazil.

It amazes me the lengths and depths people go to in alignment with their teams.

They seem to forget that sport is supposed to be something fun, for playing. The clue is in the word ''game''.

But who am I kidding?

There is life, there is death and then there is sport, right?

And occasionally in terms of sports fanaticism, these three collide. Like the case of Andres Escobar, the Colombian soccer player who scored an own goal against the United States in 1994.

His team had to leave the tournament: he was shot six times in his car outside a bar in the aftermath. Dead. Thankfully, most sports fanaticism is harmless.

Productive, even, as an outlet for (mostly) men who (mostly) don't seek emotional outlets to (mostly) get together with a common interest and goal.

There's something awesome in the collective power of a Mexican wave or a stadium swelling with song.

Scratch the surface of the same team shirts and war paint, though, and you'll find individual obsessive behaviours by both players and fans.

One British footy player has shared his story about lucky socks.

Warning: this story includes reference to Mr Blobby, an overblown pink Teletubby with yellow spots, the kind of creepy character that could create nightmares and disorders and should perhaps be used as a weapon against enemy teams. But no.

Mr Blobby, in fact, appeared on a pair of socks that this player was given for Christmas. It was cold (being England), so he wore them under his regulation socks.

That day he scored a stellar goal. Did he attribute this to his years of training?

His mental fortitude? The contributions of his team-mates? No.

He decided that the socks had magical Mr Blobby powers and wore them to every game ever after ... until, that is, a run of four goalless losses, when he finally admitted that Mr Blobby might not be working any more.

We may scoff, but I'm as guilty as anyone for wearing red socks when the sailing is on.

Other rituals include always eating the same pre-match meals, abstaining from sex, prayer and crossing of body parts.

This for both players and spectators. I used to date a fanatical fan and weekend nights were sometimes very sparse in our house, but at least he was calm in defeat.

There are shocking statistics from the United Kingdom about increases in domestic violence after a major team loss, although no such causative link has been proved here.

From which we can all draw our own conclusions. The effects go beyond the individual.

Those who believe in collective consciousness (which is no weirder than believing in the magical powers of Mr Blobby) may know that there is a correlative stock market dive in countries that are knocked out of World Cup tournaments.

So I wonder, if national strength of feeling can affect economic performance, could it get the ball through the posts or in the net or in the pocket or wherever if we did it all at once?

I mean, if we all did that mind/eye synaesthesia that Owen Farrell does before he kicks, and wore our lucky socks to boot, who knows what we could achieve?

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