Why do we glorify footballers until they’re out of reach?

Ben Mountain

A quick reminder: footballers are human beings like you and I. They may be talented and wealthy human beings but they’re human beings all the same. They see, feel and do things that each seven billion of us do everyday. Only, when they do it, we sing their praises until our throats are sore.

Go and take a look at your Twitter for a moment; you’ll start to notice what we’re getting at.

Keep an eye out for the really inconspicuous tweets. The sort of generic, everyday stuff that most of us wouldn’t usually bat an eyelid at.

Watch out for the real paint-drying levels of boring normality.

And now imagine some pleb harking on about ‘legend’, ‘class’ and ‘quality’ for those tweets. Imagine plenty of approving emojis thrown in there, headache-inducing capital letters and a full stop. You know exactly what we mean, right?

We see them all the time. Though they’re not awarded to your everyday human being. Oh, no. These deifying tweets are saved for certain special human beings. The ones who kick around a ball and get paid several thousand pounds a week for it.

Because when they do something mundane and commonplace, Jesus, what a human they become. They become gods among men. Heroes among mere mortals.

Take, for example, Lukas Podolski; the Galatasaray forward has an amazingly unique trait.

Get this, Podolski has a son. He loves his son and spends time with him. Sometimes, as an international millionaire footballer, he shows him some football stadiums. We know, admirable stuff.

Hell, the bloke is better than every other father out there. Better than all of you lot. He is, quite simply, a legend.

What a blinding bloke.

According to some sources, Podolski even wakes up in the morning and, every so often, holds a door open for someone else.

Legend, right? We should feel honoured to even share the same planet as this guy.

Now, this isn’t an attack on Lukas Podolski. The fella just goes about doing his everyday business and it’s not his fault that some gaggle of deranged, hyperbolic berks follow him around to whack a nice rose-tinted haze over his life.

And that’s precisely our point. Footballers aren’t at fault; they’re just living a normal life. Yet people find it completely impossible to refrain from eulogising them?

What Podolski and his son get up to, like every other father-son relationship, is mildly warming at best. It does not warrant the tags ‘legend’, ‘class’ or ‘quality’.

Their least offensive effect is that these posts of adoration dilute our perception of achievement. Will every father from now on take his son to the park in a golden cape and expect a hero’s welcome upon his return?

We hope not. Please don’t try it.

But if a footballer carried out such an amazing display of fatherhood, they would seem to be more than entitled to such a reaction. In fact, they’d deserve that little clapping hands emoji, too. Lucky buggers.

And on top of the millions of fathers who’ll see that and no doubt feel a touch less adequate, there’s the infinite raising of a footballer’s status to contend with.

Modern day football fans and the players they pay to watch have a very weak partnership. Their relationship is more economic than it is endearing.

There are relative canyons in the differences between them. The wage gap, physiques and egos to name but a few. The distinction between your everyday person and a professional footballer is staggering. You’d think that the latter walk the streets emitting a golden glow which keeps us commoners from getting too close.

For the record, they don’t. Like we’ve said, they’re human beings as well.

And as such they perform human acts. But this, for some reason, isn’t acceptable.

Because, despite the already vast gulf between fan and player in terms of the footballer’s lifestyle, even their normal actions have to be glorified too.

Footballers can’t be seen as part of the common clan. So when they do the very same stuff that we do, they become adorned by that all-praising tweet. Class. Legend. Quality. Bore off.

This absurd deification of footballers only widens the abyss between them and their fans. When a player is seen as human, down to earth and normal, some tool with a media degree and Photoshop labels them something untouchable.

Sure, it’s probably for the retweets and attention, but it’s still damaging.

We sadly no longer see footballers as human beings. We see them in a pixelated form or preened to the divine max. They’ve lost their former status as everyday people thanks to the money and image of modern football.

And, to some extent, we’ve accepted that. We don’t mind the ideal celebrity icon, after all.

But when these people do something so monotonous that it can be seen as normal, they’re stuck back up into the ether with that recurring tag of ‘legend’. We do – or would do – the very same things as them, but we’re not legends, are we?

We place the everyday footballer so high up on their predetermined pedestal that we can no longer reach them. Said pedestal comes in the shape of a worn-out adjective and keeps them way out of reach. Us lowly commoners couldn’t possibly reach that high. They’re on another super-human level.

So, the next time you take out the rubbish, go for a leak or spend time with your son, remember that you too are a legend. Yes, even for the most mundane of things. If footballers are, why aren’t we? We’re all human beings after all.

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