It is a well-known fact that an Ultra will always support their team in the good times and in the bad times. An Ultra, fanatic, supporter or whatever you prefer to call them does far more for their team than any regular fan would. For an Ultra, their job goes farther than just having a simple love for a team and its colors, rather it is a way of life.
This way of life includes road trips that can vary from 5 hours to 20 hours of traveling time, having your family and friends get accustomed to the way weekends are spent based on the calendar of the team that you love, even calling in sick at work to give support on a weekday whether it’s a game day or a practice session. It also involves planning weddings, Quinceañeras, baptisms, and birthday parties in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with supporting your team on home games.
Some even get tattoos of their team to show how crazy and passionate they are for their team, and it is also very common for them to almost lose their voice entirely from chanting for 90+ minutes, their clothes normally end up being soaked with sweat more then a few of the Players.
Not very long ago, I read a publication from a professional player that said how easy it is to criticize the pros, but that very little know of the sacrifice all players have to make to play ball. Behind that footballer lies a childhood that was given up to make their dream come true, girlfriends and friends lost along the way, family moments and vacations in which they weren’t present, and that they give their soul every day to improve and overcome obstacles.
And then I ask myself: Does players ever think of what happens to an Ultra (fanatic, supporter, etc.) as a result of supporting them? Do they realize and understand that Ultras go through the exact same thing, except that the sacrifice players make brings them money and fame, whilst the sacrifice of Ultras results in losses of time and money, bad reputations, and the insults and humiliations of opposing fans?
This last Saturday, my team played in San Jose, California. We, the loyal fans that we are, did the near impossible to collect funds to make this road trip happen, $65 per person to be more specific. For an Ultra, traveling elsewhere to support your team builds up a certain adrenaline inside of yourself because you know that in the stadium you are visiting, it’s you, your comrades and your team against the rest of the stadium. As almost always, my team ended up losing, but something happened that called my attention and that has been happening for some time now.
The players of the opposing team went to appreciate their loyal fans after the game had ended, they gave a bit of their time to personally thank their supporters they sign autographs and some even gave their shirts as a reward for said support.
On the way home from the road trip, I heard a young lady member of our Supporters’ Group crying inconsolably, asking her boyfriend this question: “Why?”
I got closer to make sure everything was all right, and she answered me of how frustrated she was. She asked if I saw how the other team went to thank their fans after the game, and that our team, with the exception of three of our players, didn’t even look at us. It frustrates her and it breaks her heart to see the lack of appreciation from the team that we love so much.
It is a sad reality that we live and have to deal with, very few players of our team take their time to appreciate our support, We know that on various occasions their excuse was that they lost the game and that they were frustrated, but that doesn’t justify said lack of appreciation because we also are frustrated and despite that they lose, we always give our support, because it is unconditional.
I know that there aren’t thousands of us, that we are only a few hundred. The majority of you are used to seeing larger numbers in a Supporters’ Group. Unfortunately, we are similar to you players in the sense that we are also by ourselves, abandoned to our luck by a mediocre owner and hated by the majority of the league followers.
Since we’ve talked of this issue on numerous occasions with the front office, the players, and the coaches and even with that, Most of them still ignore us. What I have written is for every single one of you players and coaching staff members so that way before you head to the locker room without even looking at your loyal supporters that are by your side rain or shine, you know of all we go through from supporting you. I’m not asking any of you for special favors, because being thankful is a duty of any human being. An autograph, a greeting, and even a shirt is something you should never deny of any supporter that would give their life to see you become champions with the only reward would be having been there supporting you guys the whole way.
The biggest deception of an Ultra is not that your team loses, it’s that your team ignores you.
Written by “El Chiva Mayor”
translated by Rik Escutia “El Dragon”