Saturday, 21 November 2009

Soccer and sanity.

I rarely attend the Blue Brazil's away games, but given that today's match was a clash between the league leaders (Cowden and Stirling Albion) who were only seperated by goal difference, I made the effort to head off to Stirling. Let me compliment the Bino's first: friendly welcome, lovely pies (crisp pastry, well seasoned meat and just the right touch of light grease!) and a very nice stand. And your No 9 is a cheating **** who deserved the red card he got! We scored early, dominatedthe game until the last 15 minutes and, with the opposition down to 10 men, seemed set for an extension to our top of the table lead. Then we conceded a STUPID penalty to let the Binos equalise. To make matters worse, they actually scored (a jammy fluke of) a goal and suddenly we were in big trouble. Mercifully, we bashed another one in and I came away happy with a 2-2 draw.

However, what I really did not expect to discover on the train home was a very good and well written wee article on depression and suicide. Not in the paper, but in the Stirling Albion matchday programme. It was a piece on the recent tragic suicide of the German national goalkeeper, Robert Enke. I'm going to quote quite a bit of it.

"Robert Enke didn't want to cause anyone any trouble. In the darkest hours of his mental illness his thoughts were only for Leila his adopted daughter and Teresa his wife. The swooping cycle of depression, illogical yet making perfect sense, allowed him to believe that Leila would be taken away: that the authorities would deem a loving father unfit. Having seen Teresa attempt to come to terms with the death of their biological child, he felt that it was better he disappeared than Leila.

Tony Adams knew emotional torment and its ability to destroy. His crutch was alcohol....The former Arsenal defender recognises that depression and dependency are not mutually exclusive.

Paul Gascoigne...knows alcohol abuse inside out. He struggles with depression and obsessive compulsive he is a lonely, semi-tragic specimen.

But Robert Enke was not an alcoholic, he was not an under-educated attention seeker. Neither is Dame Kelly Holmes. Her fighting spirit was confounded by injury. She locked herself in her bathroom and passed a steel blade through her flesh. One cut for every day's training missed.

Sport brings with it many pressures. The ultra-macho culture, the pressure to win at all costs, the blame that is always - always - meted out in defeat. It is a wonder that there are not more high profile sportspeople who struggle to cope."

A very powerful and sensitive article in a quite unexpected place. Goes to show not all footie fans are brainless knuckle draggers or utterly insensitive.


  1. Dumbarton have Simon Barrow of Ekklesia as a regular contributor to their programme. See the wee teams? See sensibility and genuine care for the folk who watch them.

    You would never find anything like this in the Old Firm's agenda.

  2. the way!