Football is the most popular sport in the world. That is a fact. It does not matter which corner of the globe you find yourself in, kick a ball with your foot and everyone will understand what's going on.
Still, it's not just the physical aspect of the sport that seems to have penetrated most nations worldwide, in fact, it's not even the main reason why this sport has conquered the world in the first place. The main reason why football is the ultimate sport is its capacity of forming a community around it which has translated into an unparalleled potential to move the masses.
THE UNIVERSALITY AND ACCESSIBILITY OF FOOTBALL.
Football has this magical uniting power that has been actively present throughout history. Just think back to World War I's Christmas truce, December 24th of 1914, a series of unofficial ceasefires took place along the Western Front. And what did the enemies do during that truce? They played football. You simply can't deny, that football is everywhere.
One of the key contributors to football's universality is its accessibility. It can be found across any class, gender, religion, and ethnicity. Not to mention its unique ability to bridge any and all generational gaps. As long as you have something you can kick around and a little bit of space, you can play football. And wherever there's football, there are people who come along to watch and cheer. At the heart of it all, football is as much about the game, as it is about the community that forms around it.
As such, the beauty and value of this game become more apparent once we begin to observe the countless ways in which communities build around it and reap the benefits.
THE BENEFITS FOOTBALL BRINGS TO THE COMMUNITY.
Regardless of how high up, or down low, in the league a football team may find itself, its relevance will always extend beyond the field. True, great sports clubs, such as F.C Banlieue, are more than just a football team, they are authentic hubs for their communities. They bring people together and serve as a platform for deeply passionately shared experiences, thus strengthening human connections and our bonds to each other as individuals who are all in this together. From the pressure and expectation of the games to that gut-wrenching feeling of a last-minute loss and the collective euphoria of a win, the emotional rollercoasters that football fans endure together make for solid relationships that last a lifetime. That sort of “win or lose we stick together” mentality doesn’t happen all that often in life. The type of loyalty one can find in football clubs and their members, is hard to find.
Few other organisations have the capacity of creating safe spaces that welcome people from all walks of life, while simultaneously reducing social isolation and youth offending. It gives many lost souls a place to call home and a tribe to which they can belong.
Being either a supporter or a player, in a football team means something. Outside of those 90 minutes of gameplay, you are still part of the team, you are still part of the community.