Sports, Motivation & Psychology

The author Paula Franke has thought about why female football players are simply authentic in love

Love in times of football

Who equates love and sport is anything but wrong.

These two disciplines have a lot in common. There are the physical side effects such as increased heart rate, the release of exhilarating messenger substances, derailed emotions in victory or defeat or the almost unbearable tension. On the other hand, it is a field of encounter between very different people. Spectators and participants come together and find a strong connecting link in a goal or a hope. Emotions can be all the more intense when you know you have an entire fan block behind you. And all the more difficult when it's the other way around.

Hardly any other sport is apparently as much about love as football.  But how do you do justice to this great feeling?

To the question what drives us in this life, many people would surely answer with love in variable form.  We are actually constantly looking for it and then we find it, the strong feelings. Authentic feelings probably come closest to the ideal of love, however, for this you usually have to go on a stony search, because the recognition and acknowledgement of real feelings always needs a good portion of courage. In professional men's football, homosexuality was a minefield that could not be entered. It was Thomas Hitzlsperger who took the first step onto the minefield. But after the flood of congratulations, encouragement and admiration, the appeal to colleagues to deal with their homosexuality openly as well, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, was lost.

Women's football has already moved on! That may be because in the field of women's football, homosexuality was less of a taboo subject than normal from the outset. Even in the 1970s, women's football, already overburdened with prejudices, was still considered a niche for those with a different sexual orientation. However, the fight for social recognition of the female sex and top football performance was the first priority. And this is far from being fought out, after all, the multiple world champions still cannot make a living from their professional careers.  For this very reason it is admirable that love and all its manifestations are dealt with openly and informally. For example the former second national goalkeeper Uschi Holl and her life partner Carina.

The two are connected by an actually unexcited love story, but their natural way of dealing with each other makes them (still) something special. In 2006 Carina is 24 years old and a student of sports science when she falls in love with the test person during a study on sprint processing. The latter is none other than the then second goalkeeper of the German women's national team, Uschi Holl.

The two become a couple, move into a shared Cologne apartment. Carina is now a "player's wife", accompanies her partner to their games, hopes with her, supports her.  No hide and seek but also no hype when they say "yes" to each other in 2010. By living their love and sexual identity as a matter of course, they simply remove the breeding ground for bohemianism.

The male domain of football still fights tense over its heteronorm and thus connects seemingly like-minded people.  But how many others does it exclude? Is this about something physical? Whoever desires the same sex is no longer safe from it in the intimacy of a changing room or a firm hug in the stadium? Who is it that makes you afraid? Of oneself, one's own feelings, one's own desires.

Hungry for titles

The "Wolf Women" set the pace in the women's soccer Bundeslig

The Bavarians are pissed. Spoiled for success in men's football, they have to watch enviously as the women of VFL Wolfsburg take the butter off their bread almost every season and have declared war on the wolves. They have won the DFB Cup six times in a row (seven times in total), even if it was only in the dramatic penalty shoot-out against the brave women from Essen; and they have added four championships in a row to their tally, a total of six titles. The Champions League has also been won twice, with trophies piling up in the display case.



Text: E. Britsch

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