It is 6:14am on the first monday of December when I wake up in my hotel room. At first, I’m confused to wake up in a strange environment. I am confronted by white sheets white everything and a 21 inch screen elevated on the wall on the other side of the bed. That is when I snap back to the reality that I am at a hotel for this corporate event for the purposes of fighting against gender based violence.
My mind is roaming and this is when I remember a friend of mine. She is actually not just a friend, she’s more like a therapist kind of thing cum many other roles and no we are not dating, at least not at the moment. She recently refered me to an article that turned out to be quite inspirational and for a moment, the environment in this hotel reminded me of the article and her(yes we used to date). She says she believes in me and wants me to live the dream, and for a moment there I want to call her and tell her where I am but I never get around to it. It’s around 6:20 and I know for sure that she would still be sleeping.
Back to my story. Up until that moment, I had no story for my monday section and I was toying with the idea of calling Mzangila Snr and tell him I won’t make it today. But my mind goes back to the events of the weekend and I decided against. I settle for calling him to congratulate him for his graduation and also apologize for not attending his graduation party.
The weekend (Saturday in this case) had been busy with the most notable events being me attending a graduation party for a friend’s sister and of course the big game Arsenal vs Manchester United. It was nice watching the game. I generally appreciate football as a sport irregardless of which teams are playing. Watching Arsenal get thrashed was okay for me, I have nothing for or against them. The only part I didn’t like was that Manchester United was the one doing the thrashing. I am a Chelsea fan myself so anyone who follows the English Premier League closely will know why I wasn’t exactly thrilled. I tell you no Chelsea fan will be supporting the two Manchester clubs so long as the table stands as it is now.
A game of this magnitude comes with a lot of emotions, anxiety, yelling, defaming, insults and such others. However, Kenyans being the sports people that we are, know how and when to differentiate between when it is game time and when to go back to the reality that is our lives except for those Arsenal fans that have committed suicide over the years. (What is wrong with this Arsenal fans anyway?) Just because your colleague is an Arsenal fan or a Manchester United fan does not mean that you relations should be strained. It does not mean that you will not greet them because their team beat yours. I came to this realization whem I saw Simon Peter (an Arsenal fan) and Charles aka Kasuku (a Manchester United fan) ram each other over the weekend game but that was just it. A game, and they are great friends. In the end, they both acknowledged the results and moved on. Each promising that they will lock horns again during the next game.
Why then do we become so indifferent when it comes to politics? Why do we become so unforgiving when it comes to political party affiliations? Why do we become so unaccomodative in our in our political opinions? Why do we become aggressive, bitter and destructive when our favorite political candidate loses? Why do we carry around the hate and tribalism just because of an election? Just like in football, there will be another game, right? Why should the fact that you are a Jubilee supporter or a NASA supporter be an issue in our day to day lives? The way I know football (and I mean soccer played in the EPL especially, not that game Americans call football; how can it be called football while you are using your hands? I’ll never understand). Back to my point. In football, being an Arsenal, Manchester United or Chelsea fan never gets in the way of our friendship. If anything, it strengthens the bond.
I wish that we could just apply our sports culture to our politics. Why can’t we just forget our political affiliations and just live. In sportsmanship, you’ll never come across statements like, “I wish Burnley was relegated. Why? Because Burnley, stubborn as it may be, makes the games harder for everyone and in essence more interesting. We only ask that there be more Burnleys so that run away leaders like Manchester City can be checked.
Similarly, if our politics were such accomodative, we could perhaps be bragging about having the most developed democracy in Africa. Perhaps we would be having an interesting political landscape for all the right reasons. I agree we have a interesting political culture but I dare say not interesting for the right reasons without going into specifics.
Why can’t we just say we’ll meet in the second leg or next season and just move on peacefully?