Turkish Football: A Small Rant

21 Jan

Imagine if the NFL was dominated by just three teams.  And if one of those three teams won the Super Bowl every year.  You’d just ask yourself, “Will it be the Packers, the Cowboys, or the Patriots?”  How boring!  Well this is the unfortunate situation in Turkish football.  Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, and Besiktas are the three powerhouses.  Since 1957 one of these three teams has won the title of champion 87.5% of the time (yep I did the math).  The only other two teams to claim the title are Trabzonspor (8x)  and Bursaspor (1x).  ONLY TWO!

Even with this dominating trio, there remains much passion for Turkish football. Fans in sections of the stadium don’t rest for a breath between chants.  An empty section must be left between the home and away fans to keep fans from fighting.  I once witnessed fans destorying their own statium, yep the crazies were ripping out the seats, because their team underperformed.  I’m provinding the link to a fascinating article from The New Yorker, titled “Life Among Turkey’s Soccer Fanatics.” Sadly you can’t read the article in its’ entirety but here is a link with more information.

At one time I donned a yellow and blue jersery in support of Fenerbahce.   With recent changes in my husband’s work I’ve found myself loving an underdog team.  Who isn’t an underdog when you’ve got less than a 13% chance of becoming champion?  My new team is Kasimpasa.  This year it went from a second division team to a first division team, SuperLig.  At this time  the team is in 5th place out of 18 teams in the SuperLig.

Kasimpasa: First Goal Celebration

Kasimpasa: First Goal Celebration (husband on the right)

Second Goal Celebration

Second Goal Celebration

On Friday KP played the league leader, Galatasaray.  I left Willy Wonka with my MIL and headed to Kasimpasa for the match.  I was fully prepared for a nice ass kicking from GS.  I just hoped KP could score a goal (goodness I sound like an awful fan). The gods laughed at my pesimism and KP won the match.  It was thrilling so see GS fans handed a big dose of reality. Yes, come back to earth GS because you arent the sole star in the sky.  After the match I wanted to shout “haha suckers” but sadly I have yet to learn this phrase in Turkish.

2-1 KP Wins

2-1 KP Wins

Although KP played an outstanding match the football commentators spoke mostly of GS faults rather than KP successes.  Again the focus stayed on the top three teams.  One newspaper went as far as to call it an “embarassing loss for Galatasaray.” Really? Embarrassing?  Are the other 15 teams just around as mice for the big cats to play with until the top three can meet each other for one large cat fight?  Wow… I’m starting to sound like I care about football. I’ve even started calling it “football.”  What has happened to me?

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