Spain’s Passion for Soccer
Spain’s national sport is soccer, there’s no doubt about it. The entire country comes to a halt when there is an important game, sports pages – which are almost exclusively dedicated to soccer – have spectacular editions, and on most TV news channels, soccer takes up about 80% of the sports news broadcast.
Of course, it wasn’t always like this; it was a different story until 1872. That is the year when English workmen working for Río Tinto, a mining company in Huelva, started to show their Spanish coworkers a new game that was all the rage in Great Britain. Six years later, the first soccer club in Spain, the Real Club Recreativo, which would end up being Huelva’s Real Club Recreativo, was born.
However, soccer didn’t become a serious sport in Spain until March 12, 1890. As is shown in an article published in “La Provincia,” a newspaper in Huelva which talks about the first game played in Spain between the “Huelva Recreation Club” and the recently founded “Sevilla Football Club.”
After that, soccer spread throughout Spain at a dizzying pace. Practically every year one or two different clubs emerged, many of which still exist today, and most of which play in the most important league out there.
But, why do we like soccer so much? It’s a hard question to answer. Many people have theories, and they range from the practical to the poetic. It is said, and it is true, that you only need two or more people and something to kick (whether it be a ball or a can) to play soccer. People also say it’s because the sport unites us, because fans of the same team can be rich or poor, boss or employee, conservative or liberal… And there is also no shortage of those who say that in a country full of great individualists, soccer is the only thing we can agree upon.
But the theory that we may just like the best is that which says if we like soccer, it is precisely because of the moment when a goal is scored. Of course in soccer, there are few goals scored, but each one is epic. Scoring a goal is a product of great effort, of evading numerous opponents, of running from one end of the field to the other and of perfect technique. A goal depends on many factors and nobody knows if it will make it until the last second; it is suspense, glory and you might even say catharsis and perfection. When a player from our team scores a goal we feel free, we forget about all of our problems, we’re in heaven… do we really need to say more?
Although, on second thought, maybe it’s better to stop thinking about the reasons why soccer is so popular... It’s very possible that soccer’s charm is a little magic, and we all know that revealing the secrets behind the magic can only lead to disenchantment.