If you’re a soccer/football fan, and even if you’re not, it’s been hard to escape the news of personal disaster which has befallen two of the greats of the game recently. Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch a few weeks ago after suffering a cardiac arrest, and now Aston Villa player Petrov has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
This article in the Belfast Telegraph suggests that outpourings of grief on social networking sites after such events are bogus. Given the sudden nature of Muamba’s illness, it makes sense that fans would take to Twitter to show their support, and their messages have been heartfelt and sincere, with a few notable exceptions.
It’s true that in some ways, taking to social media sites to express feelings over sporting drama can be seen as voyeuristic, but a sense of shock must govern people’s reactions…and it is this which drives them to the outlets they use to release this pent-up emotion.
Blackler’s description of grieving as ‘everywhere and indiscriminate’ is true, but it has always been so. I am less inclined to agree with his hypothesis that it is a sort of ‘addiction, a way of getting that buzz of mortality’. Who in their right mind gets a buzz from mortality? Most of us spend our lives trying not to face the fact that we are someday going to shuffle off this mortal coil.
As for the author’s conclusion that ‘It is tempting to conclude that the more a person shows shared public sympathy, the less likely he or she is to be able to display it close to home, where it matters.’ (Blacker, T., Belfast Telegraph, Thursday 5th April 2012 ) I would strongly disagree. Those who feel sympathy towards people affected by such events are simply sincere people, with no voyeuristic intention whatsoever.
What do you think? Would you take to Twitter to vent after a sporting tragedy? Please share your thoughts in the comments.