BLOG: Why do Turkish men love football?
Turkish men are crazy about football; I really wonder why not basketball, volleyball or tennis... What makes it so unique? What yearnings in the man are satisfied by watching football hour after hour?
For Turkish men, it is like a matter of life or death.
When I talk to a boy, the conversation starts with club affiliations, and if I don’t support his side, he tries to convince me to change my mind.
As Turkish men are crazy about football, economy sees benefits from it as well. You can see many ads all around Istanbul in cafés and restaurants that promote discounts ahead of derbies.
When I go to a basketball match, I don’t see hooligans around as many as I do at a football match.
Bob Andelman has found a logical reason for the phenomenon.
Andelman states that “Football is a means of male bonding. Many males play football during their childhood and adolescent years. The game is a source of bonding between men and other men, and even more particularly, between boys and their fathers.”
In “Why Men Watch Football,” Andelman explains that football meets men’s social needs; otherwise, men would have nothing to talk about.
“Psychologists have observed that women tend to communicate more freely over a vast range of topics, including emotions. Men tend to be more limited in their communication. Sports, particularly football, give us men something to talk about.” (p. 87)
Men not only escape the women in their lives, but they are also able to get away from the world of adult responsibilities:
“Watching football presents an opportunity to escape into a less responsible mode and to recapture the boyhood exuberance and enthusiasm of rooting for your home team with the other guys.” (p. 88)
In Turkish culture, if you are not interested in football, you are not defined as a proper man. Even if it doesn’t make any sense to me, it is unfortunately like that.
Another answer to the question of why Turkish men love football is that the characters of the Turkish men are generally formed as dominant and patriarchal.
As such, they love power, and football defines them very well.