Cheering for one team just isn’t enough

Last night I couldn’t get my 13 year old son to go to bed.  Nothing unusual in that. He was glued to the computer. Not unusual either.  But what was unusual was that he was obsessing over social justice indicators – which countries give most aid to poorer countries (the Netherlands come out pretty well giving 0.82% of their GDP (hooray), compared to the US’s 0.22%) and how many women are in government in Italy compared to South Africa (Italy only have 8.3% (boo!), whilst South Africa have a healthy 41.4%;).

The ‘Who Should I Cheer For?’ rankings generated a lot of thought and discussion about topics that I’m sure most teenage year old boys wouldn’t usually be that interested in.  They also gave us something to think about should the unthinkable happen and our teams get knocked out and we have to think about finding someone else to cheer for.

However with my family supporting 6(!) teams between us, I think we should be alright for a while… Of course we’ll be supporting England as our home team; my eldest son is claiming that his 1/16 Spanish heritage justifies his choice of team as Spain; my Ghanaian heritage and of course the terrible way the ref treated them in the last world cup in their match against Italy, means I will be cheering for the ‘Black Stars’; I still can’t help but support Cameroon even all these years after Roger Miller’s fantastic goal in the 1990 World cup. Then of course there’s Brazil and no matter how hard I try, previous years have shown me that I just can’t help having a sneak peek when they’re playing which always leaves me bedazzled and rooting for the yellow and green magicians.

This year though I think the South African team may steal my heart and support – what a wonderful moment for the nation and Nelson Mandela to be hosting such a major world tournament, having been banned from so many sporting events during the apartheid era. What a fantastic testimony to all the people around the world who went on marches, lobbied their MPs and pushed for a fair South Africa.  It shows just what can happen when people campaign together.

Related posts:

  1. I’m cheering for Nigeria this world cup
  2. Pete Lusby: Why I’m cheering for South Africa
  3. Celebrating with Ghanaians

Sharon Jordan is campaigns assistant at WDM. Generally football indifferent, her football passion ignites about this time once every 4 years as the ups and downs of life are played out by global players in 90 minutes on a patch of green grass.

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the World Development Movement.

Posted in: Who am I cheering for?

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2 Responses to “Cheering for one team just isn’t enough”

  1. Milli says:

    I am curious as to how the rankings were constructed. I really liked this idea when I saw it on facebook, but was really disappointed when I clicked on the methods/rankings section. I couldn’t find any information beyond what the ‘social indicators’ were, as to how you constructed the rankings and weighted each indicator. Furthermore, when I clicked on the country comparisons, it seemed that military spending and carbon emmissions must be weighted massively against everything else, considering that most of the countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana) fail pretty spectacularly at everything other than this. I really like the concept but I would very much appreciate more information on the methods you used made available on the website! This would certainly help people understand and appreciate the issues at hand, and would lend far greater credibility to the study. Thanks!

  2. Hi Milli

    I’m sorry you’re disappointed! The rankings aren’t scientific and are supposed to be a fun way of thinking about serious issues around poverty and inequality.

    We’ve put a page explaining how we did the rankings, here it is:

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