So - I will refrain from the play by play, and instead offer a few observations I made over the course of the night.
We were really dead close up. Row I. I think Riquelme heard me boo. Boooo!
Like any true supporter of a great cause, we want to pass our love for Rangers onto our children. We want the kids to follow Rangers and like football and all that. But we absolutely do NOT want our kids to develop sectarian attitudes. I’d love to treat our kids one day to football games, but what about the negative environment that, let’s be honest, is a Rangers crowd? What about all the people screaming anti-Catholic remarks and singing anti-Ireland songs? How do you explain to your child that this is wrong when it seems so much an ‘innocent’ part of supporting your football team? This is a huge issue, one that I imagine many, many people struggle with when it comes to supporting Rangers or Celtic, Hearts or Hibs, or whichever other rival teams there may be. It’s such a huge issue that I don’t really even know how to talk about it. I just don’t want our kids to develop this attitude or go around heaping abuse on people for their religious affiliation. But I want them to support Rangers for Rangers’ sake, for the football, and not for their Protestant background.
Sectarianism aside, there’s also the issue of the unbelievably coarse language and gestures that go on in a game. Now, before you start thinking too highly of me, let me say we are not above shouting abuse ourselves. Nothing like a football match to bring out the potty mouth in you. And I don’t believe swearing is wrong (in the proper context. But that’s for an entirely different post altogether.). But how does one relay this balance to a child, what is appropriate and what is not appropriate? For instance, if someone were to yell to a player, 'What the f* was that?!', I would consider that vastly more acceptable than for instance shouting to the opposing team, 'You insert sectarian slur here bastards!' Sigh. Again, it’s too big of an issue for me to deal with adequately here, one I don’t understand and can’t relate to. Sectarianism is wrong. Downright wrong. I love Rangers, I hate sectarianism. I’m an adult though, not a child, and I don’t know how to teach a child these things.
Is that Dado Prso coming up for the header? It looks like him through the blur. Anyway, I like Dado, I’m very sorry he got booked and won’t be playing in the next leg. We need him.
On a lighter note, I love the camaraderie at football games, particularly Rangers games, and I love the noisiness of Rangers crowds. When we scored our two points, each was met with jumping, shouting and hugging the perfect stranger next to you in sheer exaltation. (Kinda makes you wonder why church isn’t that way, like when someone commits their life to Christ?) I love the deep booming swell of a stadium full of people (mostly men) singing or chanting or clapping or stomping in unison. Ibrox is known for its noisy supporters, and it’s even more amazing when you watch an away game on TV and the tiny corner reserved for Rangers supporters is making more noise than the entire stadium full of fans for the home team. I love that.
The only actual match comments I have to make are as follows:
a) The first penalty score by Villareal so sucked. Prso handled the ball for some moronic reason and that set the tone for the whole game. Even though Lovencrands is a bit of a rocket, cheers for the equaliser!
b) This new offside rule makes no sense to me. I was just getting around to understanding the old one and then they bring in this new one and Villareal scores with it. Grr.
c) I *heart* Chris Burke. I also kinda *heart* Thomas Buffel. I hope they achieve big things.