How Soccer Explains Sectionalism

Sectionalism is defined, loosely paraphrased, as a restriction on one’s view to only one region, country, etc. In How Soccer Explains the World, a clear example is made with the Catholics, and the Protestants, represented as the Celtic, and the Rangers.

The rivalry between the Catholics (the Irish), and the Protestants (the English and the Scottish), began many years ago in history, and the rivalry continued, and grew worse to present day.

Now, with each soccer game between the Celtic and Rangers, it’s dangerous to show allegiance with one side if you don’t want possible violence. Fans of both clubs who are drunk and hostile will more than likely harm fans of the opposite team if provoked even slightly. The extremes of both sides taunt, and threaten each other often, mostly with seriously violent threats.

Even when trying to unite the two clubs peacefully, just as Jackie Robinson helped connect White and African-American races through baseball, the result was just the opposite, and the player became a full on Ranger, instead of connecting the two clubs. It shows that within these two clubs, the sectionalism is too strong among the clubs that even tries at peaceful connections can’t stop it.

A current example for today, is the political parties in the U.S., Republicans and Democrats constantly fight and bicker against each other, although, it’s not as violent as the soccer clubs in Glasgow, Scotland. However, there are many similarities, for one example both sides have extreme supporters that will only vote for one side for the rest of their life, and some extremes often threaten the opposite candidates, sometimes violent, sometimes not.

Republicans that often lean to a Democratic side are often shunned by the extreme supports, and that goes the same vice versa, this doesn’t always happen, but it can be seen in some cases, especially through social media. So, since sectionalism exists so much in the world, it’s possible that it is a natural trait. Even before modern civilization, the Native Americans exhibited this sectionalism behavior with tribes, sometimes they were violent, sometimes not. The type of sectionalism depends on the people that live in certain countries, or support a certain group whether that’s a political party, a tribe, religion, or a sports team. We all exhibit some sort of sectionalism everyday, even if it’s just supporting your college team in a rivalry game, and How Soccer Explains the World gave that clear example with the Celtic and the Rangers.


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