If you, by any chance, live in Europe, you have probably heard about the infamous Ultras, but if you are an American, you are pretty much clueless about the term. This name Ultras represent the football fans (real football, not that under armor rugby you have going on, yeah, you keep calling our thing soccer, we’ll keep calling yours rugby), that are known to be very extreme during the match’s. Other names are being used to label these people and the most used word is a hooligan. In the stands, they are easily spotted wearing jerseys of their club, colored scarf, balaclava, pyro (known as a torch), a national flag or the football flag. These guys are considered very dangerous and unpredictable, as they live for the club and they are ready to perform many vile things in order to protect the honorable colors of their team.
Often seen chanting, singing, cursing, doing the wave or organized clapper, rising enormous flag over the public in stands, or simultaneous burning of the torches are some of their activities that show the beauty of being a true fan known as Ultra. Normal people watch the game, eats burnt sunflower seeds or drink beer, but Ultras are the 12th player on the field. It is known that a good ovation and inspiring chant can motivate the players to perform better, fill their hearts with courage and pride and make them give their maximum to set the best score. The patriotic charge that flows from the stands usually bathes the whole stadium and affects the crowd in total, providing them with a memorable feeling of joy. Every game is a spectacle, as the football players are being portrayed as modern knights, gladiators in the arena, fighting the enemy’s barbarian hordes.
It all started as a normal way of showing your true affection for the club, going to games with your close friends, sing in support for the team, but it grew into something darker. Europe was plunged into many wars, and many states fought the other states, so when there is a game at play, it is seen as a small battlefield, where one fandom wants to prove the other side, that their country is better than the others. That love for the club was so strong, that the national representation has started to be observed as the best of the best one country had to offer. That way, nationalism grew from modest patriotism and soon, very passionate fans became super fans, Ultra-Nationalist, The Ultras. A new formed faction of fans have spread onto the smaller clubs in lack of frequent international plays, so Ultra ranks started growing in all of the clubs, spreading like plague among big and small football division. Fans became fanatics, and fanatics are somewhat crazy when triggered.
Could you imagine a love for the sport, so great, that you would be willing of doing something very bad to someone if he has said: “Your team sucks!”? Could you feel in your heart, the ever pulsing love for the team, that you know all of its players by name? And if you did, could you be able of harming yourself or your loved ones if you missed going for the match? Would you quit your job, or leave your partner if he was a supporter for the opposite team? Could you end long lasted friendship over friend choice of the best player of the team? Do you know every goal, every missed opportunity and time it happened, of all the players in the team, throughout the complete history of the club to the day it was founded? Do you sing the chants and hymns; hum the tune when you are all alone as a method of meditation? No? Well, Ultras do.
When someone has that much love, he doesn’t accept the defeat so easily. It makes him rage out of control, punch the wall and roar like a wounded beast he is. It’s kind of a normal thing for the people with a lot of love, to have a lot of hate too. We have seen comedians get very depressed, or celebrities get tired of their posh life as a sign of some imbalance that their carrier has brought them. High level of one emotion will evoke the opposite feeling, to retrieve a natural balance and keep the mind healthy. Ultras suffer the same pressure; sometimes it is unbearable, so they show their hate through aggressive behavior, hooliganism, breaking stuff and fistfights. Their love is shown in celebrations where they drink, sing, socialize and enjoy life, until the losing Ultras comes along to beat up the 12th player.
Society had a problem with this. Common clashes have turned into homicides and massive brawls, with deadly casualties, and the government couldn’t allow this to happen for too long. No one was fond of receiving the mortality report from the local morgue, after they have sent their child to a football match. For all my years, I have heard a dozen of news announcements, where a kid got stabbed to death, just for wearing the wrong scarf in a wrong hood. I do realize there are gangs in USA like Crips and Bloods that do the same death sentencing, but we don’t have that kind of gangs here, so this sort of crime is outrageous and unheard off.
Police is summoned to pacify the crowd and divide the factions on the stands, create a buffer zone, but they used force and bats to do it. The same approach is being done when the Ultra crowd leaves the stadium after their team lost the match. Police in riot gear is deployed whenever the Eternal Derby is taking place, in order to protect the civilian property and city monuments. They bash the Ultras without mercy, so the Ultras figured, it is not the Police they are fighting, it’s the government, because Police is a prolonged hand of the regime. The strong hate among rival sport teams fandoms on the stands slowly turned onto hating the government and became a revolutionary ideology. And so the hatred of Police was born.
Every Ultra considers the police as their arch enemy, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend logic, draw criminals in the Ultra ranks. Balaklava seemed as a practical tool to hide your face when rioting, so the cameras and witnesses could not point their finger at you when the riot ends. Police has bats, and so will we. They have shields, but we have torches. We will own the city. The city is ours; it’s of the people, not them, not the property of corrupt politicians and their henchmen. Regime will feel our wrath, and it will bow at our feet… of course this is how some of the Ultras think when rioting, but that is just a loud minority.
True Ultras are now doing all in their power to eradicate this sort of intruders, in order to preserve the highest honor standards in their ranks. The proper Ultra hates drugs and loves sport, hates the unfair ways and loves the sport spirit, hates the criminals and loves his country, so the true Ultra is a man of honor. Many years ago, one of the honorable brothers fell dead from the shadow knife in the hands of an evil hooligan, which twisted smile disappeared into the black of night. Days passed in sorrow, a grief for all of his smiles, laughs, chants and shown courage. The pain was so great, that even 100 enemy skulls and bones broken couldn’t make a change, so the leaders have made a meeting to discuss the future. An unwritten code was set in place, that from then and on, no weapons allowed in fights, only the God given hands and fists, however, the rotten parts of Ultras follow no rule. They still pray on the unguarded supporters, members of a big Ultra Firm factions, trying to get them in a dirty fight.
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