Football as social painkiller

10:10, 06 July 2012
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Football is good for improvement of national self-esteem, when there is nothing else to improve it with, psychologist Oleksandr Hubenko told KW.

“The cult of football in modern society is assuming traits of mass psychosis. How can it be explained? Firstly, football is the most democratic sport; it gathers huge stadiums, unlike, for example, hockey. Watching a match induces internal addiction, a form of dependence of the human body on the hormones emitted in this process, a very thrilling, yet pleasant hormones.

Football to some extent compensates for the feeling of monotony which most people feel in their mundane life. In the end, it helps divide the people along “us and them” lines, supporters and opponents of our team, turning the whole thing into a kind of a virtual war. Everybody needs to belong to some large group into which they can assimilate, on which they can rely upon and where they can find like-minded people, friends. This need is particularly acute at the young age. In football, one can find like-minded people simply by some identification mark – a scarf, or colors of the team or club. People unite on this basis. For a person, contacts with other people are very important, because in this way they overcome the sense of isolation typical for large cities and modern civilization, the psychologist said.

Speaking of the peculiarities characteristic to different nations, Hubenko reminded that Ukrainian mentality can be labeled rather as calm and peaceful. “It is hard to expect from us aggression or anger that would border on social extremism. Basically, we have never attacked anybody. We only defended ourselves, and obediently submitted to the enemy, sometimes for centuries,” he concluded.


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