‘A real bat­tle be­tween coun­tries’

China Daily (Canada) - - FOCUS - By YANG YANG

It’s some­thing of a cliche to say that soc­cer is fun to watch or play, but it’s true nonethe­less. China Daily spoke to a num­ber of fans to find out what soc­cer means to them.

When Chen Yikan, a 29-yearold edi­tor at the Shang­hai Trans­la­tion Pub­lish­ing House, was five years old, he read his first soc­cer mag­a­zine. He was in­trigued by the sto­ries and the ar­ti­cles and the names of the for­eign play­ers. Later, he stud­ied English lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture at col­lege and be­came a trans­la­tor and edi­tor at one of China’s largest pub­lish­ing houses.

“I iden­tify my­self as a ‘fake’ soc­cer fan in that I won’t sac­ri­fice sleep for the World Cup. It’s fun to watch the games, but I ap­pre­ci­ate them more from an aes­thetic an­gle,” he said.

Yang Xinru, a 26-year-old who works as a mar­ket­ing em­ployee in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, sees many sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween her twin loves: soc­cer and movies.

“Of­ten, the games are like movies. Dur­ing 90 min­utes, you may see ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity for the two teams. Play­ers live their lives in the games, and you can even tell what will hap­pen to them later. Some­times the plot is so dra­matic that it’s ex­tremely ex­cit­ing to watch,” she said.

“I also see the games as bat­tles. In past cen­turies, coun­tries fought each other, but not any more. When I watch a game, how­ever, I feel as though I’m watch­ing a real bat­tle be­tween two coun­tries,” she said.

Hav­ing moved away from home, Yang said she misses the times she spent watch­ing the 2006 World Cup with her par­ents. “We watched all the games to­gether. It’s was so much fun, but this year, I think I will have to watch the com­pe­ti­tion on my own,” she said.

Bei­jinger Zhang Leyang, 22, said soc­cer has an in­ex­pli­ca­ble, mys­te­ri­ous charm. The rules are sim­ple, but glob­ally the game at­tracts far more fans than sports such as bas­ket­ball or vol­ley­ball.

Yang Yao, 28, from Suqian, Jiangsu prov­ince, thinks soc­cer is a way of dis­play­ing a coun­try’s strength. “I have many hob­bies be­sides soc­cer, such as play­ing bad­minton, read­ing books and jog­ging, but soc­cer gives me some­thing ir­re­place­able. It shakes you, ig­nites you, makes you re­ally ex­cited,” he said.

Yang’s in­ter­est be­gan at col­lege be­cause his room­mates were soc­cer fa­nat­ics. “We used to form our own teams to play dur­ing our free time, and we spent many hours dis­cussing the Primera Di­vi­sion de Liga in Spain. For a while, I be­lieved that soc­cer is life. But since I started work­ing, I have had much less time to de­vote to soc­cer. I grad­u­ally be­gan to re­al­ize that the say­ing ‘soc­cer is life’ is a kind of advertisement to help some coaches and teams at­tract a larger num­ber of die-hard fans. I don’t be­lieve it any­more,” he said.


Kinder­garten chil­dren take part in a soc­cer event in Yan­tai, Shan­dong prov­ince. The com­pe­ti­tion was ar­ranged to cel­e­brate the world’s big­gest soc­cer tour­na­ment.

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