Its World Cup season again. That time a year when I start getting interview requests about soccer/football, fandom, and loyalty. The assumption for many seems to be if you are a citizen of a state, you must give a certain amount of loyalty to said state. Fixed nationalism for many is an assumption. With global immigration patterns and international connectivity, these sorts of ideas can no longer be assumptions.
This leads us back to the mythical test of national loyalties. Can you pass your local cricket test? It’s a simple proposition, basically, do you support your national team above all others. Developed due to Lord Tebbit’s famous cricket test, the contention by the politician was that new British immigrants were disloyal to the country and evidence for this was that the immigrants support their former home’s national team over the English cricket team. The claim continues to be made especially in light of the influx of those of Latin American decent into the United States.
Loyalty is a difficult question. American audiences are always amazed to see Latin American teams descend on American cities by the tens of thousands to see the Mexican National Team, Bolivian, or any other prominent Latin American team play in the US. The reason these teams do so is simple, they are ready avenues to revenue given the relative affluence of the market and the loyalty of the audience to the nation of their birth.
For some this is shocking. For someone like me, it is certainly understandable. Why is it that we do not question loyalties developed at birth to political parties, religions, or even cars, yet we question it when Latinos continue to express an attachment to the teams of their birth. This development makes a lot sense from the perspective of a political protest. Rooting for a sports team can be a safe place to protest. It is an allowed expression of nationality. This practice is not necessarily a challenge to the state, just an expression of pride.