I have absolutely no interest in the World Cup. Until yesterday I didn’t even know which country was hosting it. My relationship with football is rather peculiar. When I was young I used to attend all the games of my local football club, OMONOIA Nicosia. Football in Cyprus is politicised and OMONOIA reflects my political views — it is supported by left wing working class people and it emerged as a reaction to the ethnic nationalism of APOEL, the other big football club in Cyprus.
I never liked football though. I grew up in a politically active household where both mum and dad claimed to be socialists, with football being at the centre of their social relations. Naturally, I tried to like football. I remember going to OMONOIA games with my walkman listening to music and trying to find the whole spectacle interesting.
That being said, my loyalty to OMONOIA still features high in the hierarchy of my personal identities, which is rather odd given my indifference towards the sport itself. In hindsight this isn’t so peculiar; the identity of being an OMONOIA-supporter is interwoven with my political outlook, so it makes sense that I maintain it to this day.
In the meantime, I grew up and I tried to rationalise the whole thing: I realised that my support of OMONOIA went well beyond the political. Supporting OMONOIA was my way of seeking and gaining acceptance within the social context in which I grew up. But oddly enough, I still feel a very weird sense of guilt for my indifference towards the sport, especially now that its biggest celebration — the World Cup — is taking place.