Sergio Ramos is a Spanish soccer player. He plays for Real Madrid in the Spanish league La Liga, and he also plays for Spain’s accomplished national team which won the World Cup in 2010 and the Euro Cup in 2008 and 2012. In the photo above of Spain’s team, Ramos is the 4th player from the left in the back row.
We live in Spain and we love watching the national team play. However, as avid fans of FC Barcelona in La Liga, we don’t like Real Madrid and are usually gratified when Barcelona beats them in a match, or finishes first in La Liga and Real Madrid finishes second.
I realized something this year while watching Sergio Ramos in various matches. When he played for Real Madrid, I found myself saying things like:
“Come on, Ramos, get up! You’re such a diver!”
“Ugh, stop being such a crybaby. Stop whining to the refs!”
“Oh you got a yellow card, Ramos? You totally deserved it! You can’t take out Messi like that!”
However, when he played for the Spanish national team, I found myself saying:
“Ramos is so good; he plays so hard.”
“Ha! Ramos just got away with a foul, the ref didn’t even see it!” and
“Oh, Sergio Ramos, you’re so funny. I love Spain.”
Ramos didn’t change the way he played whether he was in a Real Madrid uniform or a Spain uniform, but my attitude toward him changed depending on which team he was playing for that night. I was always against Real Madrid so I wanted their players to get in foul trouble, not score goals, and lose. However, I was always for Spain and therefore always cheered on their players – I wanted each of them to do well, play hard, and win.
We all need fans, don’t we? We all need people in our lives who unashamedly, openly cheer us on and who want the best for us. We need people who support us in our ups and downs and think our quirks are funny and sweet. To go a step further, we not only need fans but also true friends who show us grace when we mess up, but who are willing to hold us accountable and help us make changes so we can succeed in our marriages, our careers, our parenting, whatever it might be.
On the other hand, we also have to be the fans and friends that the people in our lives need. Sometimes it’s hard for us to let go of our jealousy and competitive feelings and truly be for our friends who are doing well. It’s also difficult at times to remember to openly cheer on our kids, spouses, and friends – but I’ve seen how much it means to people when they hear words that actively, truthfully build them up.
So I’m working on changing my attitude toward Sergio Ramos when he’s in a Real Madrid uniform, so that my heart toward him is consistent. I’m also working on changing my attitude toward people closer to me that I was just nit-picking at or harsh toward before (in my mind). Now if only Cristiano Ronaldo fans could acknowledge that Messi really is the best, we could all get along. Just kidding. Sort of.
Photo attribution: Football.ua. Used in accordance with Creative Commons.