Car Flags – Watching Euro 2012 from Across the Pond
Now, not much bothers me in terms of international soccer tournaments themselves. In fact, the Euro and World Cup are two of my favourite sporting events. The players are not the reason for my rage, although the diving cowards on the pitch (who hit the ground faster than any of Tyson’s opponents ever collapsed after a stiff uppercut), do infuriate me a little.
What bothers me is the lack of respect fans have to the country that they choose to live in. Humour me for a minute…
I remember during Euro 2004, I was living in England, watching a particular game – I believe it was England vs. Croatia. A win would assure one of these teams that they would move on. In the flat I was living in there was a television set up in the common room. Another famed LastWord writer was living there as well. We went to watch the game and sitting opposite us was a South African woman.
Now this woman out of the blue starts cheering for Croatia. I couldn’t believe it. The two of us questioned her on why she had chosen to live in England for so long and receive all of the benefits the country has given her, yet openly cheer against them.
To our utter surprise, she revealed she “hates England”, and “just likes the value of the money when translated back to South Africa”. It was a shame to hear her, considering all England had done for her and her family. The healthcare, living conditions, and financial benefits, had seemed to be all but be forgotten as she cheered out of hatred against a country that prevented her from having to worry about her safety each and every day. Now, by no means is England the nicest country around, and in my opinion there are better places to live (I have a British background, mind you), but to say you hate it?
Now that I got that story off my chest, I want to turn my attention to my greatest source of rage during international tournaments – the lack of national pride (concerning soccer) in my home country, Canada.
Being such a multicultural and diverse country is a great thing, but people need to realize they are Canadian, no matter what they look like or believe in. They chose this country for a reason.
Earlier this year I attended a Canadian National Team game against St. Lucia at BMO Field in Toronto. I was in disbelief that there were more St. Lucian fans at a game involving Canada. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with cheering for a team representing your heritage, but when you are now a Canadian, living in Canada, should you not cheer on your country?
The thing is, people from all over the world come here for the job opportunities (as did my family) and all the health benefits, etc. But think about this; these people are now Canadian, and came here for a stronger economic system, yet they cheer against our very own up-and-coming soccer stars. By losing, our team gets less recognition, which means less tickets sold, jerseys sold, television time and national recognition. This directly affects our economy. This extra money could go into our cities and economy, along with our soccer development programs, yet the people who came here for the benefits are cheering against not only our team, but also the economy they came her for, indirectly.
So finally, I arrive at the real point of my frustration – car flags!
Why on earth would people who have moved here feel the need to drive around with a country’s flag that they chose to abandon? Of course you should be proud of where you are from, but don’t forget where you are now. To fly a country’s flag on your car, and not have the country’s flag you live in beside it, seems imbecilic to me.
I understand Canada is not in the Euro, therefore you can’t cheer for them in that tournament specifically. But who will you cheer for during the Olympics, for example? Even our television networks are advertising for other countries instead of promoting our own country in lead-up to the next Olympic games. This Country lacks the pride a country should have.
I don’t see Canadian flags flying during international tournaments we participate in, but I do see plenty of international flags during those same events. Do yourself and our country a favour and fly the flag of whatever background you have, but on the opposite side of your car, fly the flag of the Country you live in, the one you decided was better than the country you left. Show some pride in the future and be proud of who you are, regardless of where you live.
Feel free to leave your comments below.
.. and that is the Last Word.