Updated: Jul 17
I thought we were moving towards a little more normality after several waves of lockdowns and restrictions here in the UK. Sadly, we got the ball rolling into the completely wrong direction here this week.
England reaching the final in the Euro Cup seemed to be a welcome change from the dreadful lockdown months, but really it was more of a curse. I don’t follow football much, but for the bigger events, I will root for and support a team, appreciating their athletic performance.
I supported England in the final because we’ve lived here now for 10 years and we absolutely love it. We had pizza whilst watching the game and were laughing about the irony of it, since we were playing against Italy. Little did I know that the next morning, nobody would be laughing anymore. While the England team showed their best game and played like the Lions they are, a small minority of the England fans had shown the worst side of themselves.
I always knew British football fans could be a little rough around the edges, some of them even being classed as hooligans. But I had secretly hoped that after all we, as a country, have been through over these past months, the sense of community and togetherness had strengthened and we had taken some valuable learning and understanding from looking across the pond. The Black Lives Matter movement has surely been visible to everyone, in even the smallest corner of the UK.
With this in mind, I honestly could not believe my eyes watching the story unfold the day after the final. Chaos on the streets, violence, arrests and worst of all, racist remarks all over social media. These are the moments where I seriously wonder if I might be an alien dropped off by a Mothership, rather than born into this world. I just can’t understand how this kind of violence and racism have a place on this planet.
Humans seem to be all the same when it comes to “hardware”. Yes, there are slight differences in appearance and gender, but muscles, bones and the nervous system are pretty much the same in all humans. Now please correct me if I’m wrong because I don’t understand much about football, but as far as I can tell, it is a sport that requires physical and mental strength, plus special althletic abilities that need to be practiced extensively. In order to play for a national team, you have to be at the top of your game, both mentally and physically. Since humans quite obviously don’t perform like computers or robots, there is an element of unpredictability to the game. The daily physical and mental form of each player (the bit that makes them human), presides over the outcome, which in this game, was definitely the case.
Nowhere in any of this does skin colour play a role!
What needs to be done in order to make every human understand that skin colour is not the most important piece of “hardware” on a human? The most important part of a human is the “heartwear”. Yes, I mean “heart-wear”. This is the one piece in every human being that is able to love and wants to be loved. The part that never separates but instead, looks to unite.
It seems to me that some English football fans have a huge system error in their “heartwear”. It looks like their compassion circuit is majorly malfunctioning. If they were on the receiving end, experiencing this kind of discrimination, hate and violence towards themselves, their circuits would without a doubt, fire differently. The ability to compute this seems to be compromised in these humans.
In reality, compassion and empathy really aren’t all that complicated. Instead of breaking out in hate speech, bullying and hurtful gossip, there is always the option to pause and put ourselves in the other person's shoes for a moment.
What is it like to take that shot?
The whole world is watching. Only a few shots to decide over winning or loosing one of the most important football matches of the year. All of England’s hopes and dreams falling on your shoulders…
It takes nerves of steel.
The final shots were taken by wonderfully brave players who all deserve our respect. Making it to that esteemed level, to be chosen to take the deciding shots is an amazing achievement and I’m pretty sure that the experience will only make the individuals and their teammates stronger. They will keep inspiring a new generation of fans, with a higher level of compassion and respect as opposed to some of the “malfunctioning” football fans now.
Raising the level of compassion and kindness
Seeing the reactions of some of those fans this week made me want to permanently move to Mars and become Elon Musk’s neighbour. But running away, not facing up to the sad reality and closing our eyes is not going to create any change. Racism and discrimination need to become 100% unacceptable on planet Earth and we all need to step up by showing love, support and hope at every chance we get. There is an opportunity to be kind and encouraging to someone every day, even if it’s just a little smile for the person that serves you coffee, or even a little motivating and loving self-talk for a change....
All connections and acts of kindness matter, whether they are large or small. My suggestion is to start by being kind to yourself and then share that experience and feeling with your family, neighbourhood, city and country. By doing this, we hopefully can make planet Earth a better and more loving place by taking action together.
I want to take this opportunity to make it crystal clear that there is absolutely no room for any form of discrimination in my dance fitness and yoga classes. Anyone who is willing to treat themselves and others with respect and kindness is welcome and will receive my full support on their fitness journey.