Sunday, June 26, 2016

Football Sides

Consider with me the following scenario: you join a friendly football/soccer match that has already begun and is very much in progress. No one is wearing any uniform, and it’s difficult to tell who is on which side. You ask the nearest player (who is on your side) which side you are on. How does he respond?

Surprisingly, his response will depend on his national identity. (I write this from first-hand experience.) If you were talking to a Korean player, the player will have pointed to his own goal post to signal which side you are on. An English/American player, however, will have pointed to the opposite side and say, “we are shooting that way.” They both mean the same thing; however, they are pointing in the opposite directions.

From the two starkly contrasting responses above, we can gain an insight into the different psyches of different countries. It seems that in Korea, team identity is paramount. You first define which side you are on, and out of that sense of unity flows teamwork. On the other hand, it seems that in the West, the team identity is subservient to the overall purpose. The common goal (into which of the two nets are we trying to put this ball the most times?) defines the team, and shapes all strategy/tactic that follows.