The Three Theological Virtues
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
The biggest misconception of soccer is that it is fun. It’s not. Rather, it is stressful, heartbreaking, and hard to follow (not tactically, but emotionally). Often— like religion—the follower finds themselves questioning why they are even bother doing it all. Ultimately it comes down to what they put into the team; a love that not only knows no boundaries but, at times, knows no sanity.
In Catholicism this madness is known as The Three Theological Virtues, the characteristics a person needs for salvation. They are hope, faith, and love, and with these three a person can be saved. While this is obviously referring to the hope, faith, and love of God, I propose using a similar structure to be applied soccer. The Virtues, of course, in relation to a person’s team as oppose to their God.
The Virtues are the reason why the followers do what they do for their team; watching the game eventually becomes due to compulsion rather than due to enjoyment. To see what I’m talking about let’s must break down the Virtues themselves:
Hope is placed in the players, as individuals, that they will do what needs to be done in order to win.
Faith is placed in the team, as a whole, that they will do everything right in order to win.
Love for your team that is so strong that you do not question, challenge, or consider the lunacy, impracticality, or madness as the above mentioned hope and faith, even (no, especially) after they continuously lose the title year after year. This love is infallible, unmovable, and unreasonable to everyone else but the follower, though others may sympathize.
The love of a team is like the love of God: it exists for no other reason than it simply just does. It cannot be explain to anyone else who does not understand, but it is accepted by those who do. Once a follower understands, accepts, and recognizes the Virtues, the entire game takes on a whole new meaning. This is where Match becomes Mass and the stadium becomes not only a place of worship, but holy grounds.