The atmosphere was not necessarily very threatening, quite the contrary, but it was immediately clear to me and everyone around me that two sides were facing each other here, if only as fans of two different clubs, each from a different city, with different identities. The Capital and the Port City. The big money versus the folk club.And that can clash as you know.
I tightened. The warm atmosphere cooled in a few seconds and we, the Capital, became massively silent. My very first instinctive reaction was to stay close to my own group. I saw the red-white-black football scarves around the necks of the men on the other side and I sensed the danger of a possible confrontation. Meanwhile, the visiting fans walked cheerfully and calmly to their branch at an appropriate distance. They chanted “hand in hand comrades”. I looked again and suddenly saw how excited the children, and the parents who walked along, were in the game. Smile and make up on the face. Red and white.
Then I woke up… and I immediately realized that my dream was telling me that I am too quick to take a stand in life, too quick to divide things into good or bad, safe or unsafe. Club A or Club B. That I often immediately judge a situation. That’s how it is! That I regularly choose out of fear and a false sense of security.
That I had learned this in my youth, out of self-protection. The ability to quickly assess which situation or person was `good’ or `bad’. I intuitively felt that I was still missing a few things because of this. That I would have a wider field of vision if I dared to broaden my narrow, small, sometimes fearful view. Also the one on myself. That a certain amount of (more) neutrality and openness in life could perhaps bring me much more. More connection and love in my life.
In my youth, the 70s/80s, I enjoyed playing football in the same team, from my 7th to 13th . And one of the things I didn’t understand inside was what I saw more and more around me: as we little boys got older together, it became more and more the norm around us to not only be a fan of Club A, but also especially against Club B. If you are for Feyenoord, then you are against Ajax and vice versa. Parents and adults (we used to call them grown-ups when we were kids, remember?) around us set the example. Hooligans were in the news.
us and them
The widespread and normalized aggression towards other clubs and their fans in the 1980s is why I was turned off at club football and played tennis when I was young, not on my team. Nice individual, man to man. Now I only watch a football game every now and then and although, contrary to my dream, I have a lasting sympathy for people’s clubs worldwide – because I believe that workers need the success of their club most in their usually hard lives – I also love the beautiful attacking football and the swagger of Ajax.
And Eindhoven is the craziest as far as I’m concerned† But collectively, the division between us and them, up and down the rivers, area code 010 or 020, exists perhaps more than ever in society today.
I sometimes see the world of today as a very large football stadium in which we are all together. Immense rows of people, higher and higher, in a circle. And we? We point there en masse down and to the side, and judge others. Identifying us with Club A and being against Club B. Look at what he or she does, what they do, that’s not possible, that’s not the way it should be .
We don’t see that there is always someone higher or to the side of us who does the same. He/she points at you and judges you. Look at what he does, what she wears, what he says. Unfortunately, we do not yet collectively see that we are actually pointing at ourselves, being all in one stadium – connected as one – and all playing the same game, just with a different perspective.
You cannot take a position too quickly, if you do not directly judge yourself and others, if you do not allow your mind to form an opinion immediately, if you do not immediately put into words your first feeling, do not immediately use your head but your heart first let speak.
And it helps if you are not in advance for Club A and are open to the visit of Club B. If you first be quiet and with yourself before you judge. Your home section can be greatly expanded if you dare to connect with the away section.
It has helped me enormously in my life to become more and more neutral, although I am aware that I still regularly identify with the home team. But I’m working on not forming an opinion or judgment too quickly. Neutrality gives an immense inner peace, it comes from your heart.
It brought me more self-love and self-confidence by learning to judge less (quickly) about myself and others and to be neutral towards the (opinion of) others. Opposite ‘what is happening’. To keep my heart open. As a result, I also got a lot more connection, with myself and others.
In 2019 I had a very nice spontaneous and animated conversation, in a slow train in Portugal, with an elderly lady of well over 80 who only spoke her own language and despite the fact that I can only get by superficially (socially) in Portuguese, I could fully understand her almost immediately and she me.
We smiled at each other pretty much all the time because of the warm heart connection that was instant.
Where in the past I usually put on my adopted club colors for self-protection as a mask when I talked to others, now I dare to be myself. To experience. I have been consciously working on it for more than 10 years after that dream, but nowadays I connect with people quite easily if I want because of my open heart and usually open mind.
I ask questions first instead of immediately forming a judgment. I have learned that if you speak from your heart and from there also ask people questions and listen to them neutrally, you can connect with almost everyone worldwide. Even if you don’t quite speak their language or wear different club colours, you understand each other!