Thursday, October 31, 2002

I love certain aspects of Hallowe'en. I like the 'Day of the Dead' aspects of the holiday (except when it spills over into the serial killer slasher movie elements) and I like the dressing up for the Carnival aspect of Hallowe'en too... except I'm usually too lazy to gussy up into a costume proper when October 31 rolls around. For the last couple of Hallowe'en, for example, I would just wear a ridiculous hat to work. Last year it was a Viking helmet (adorned with blond locks) and the year before I wore a Sherlock Holmes type deerstalker hat.

This year I ran out of wacky hats and this morning scrambled for something even remotely festive to wear. Laziness is the mother of invention: I dug up a pair of running shoes and my Ajax soccer jersey I had bought some months ago after I had read Brilliant Orange: the neurotic genius of Dutch soccer. At work, I told everyone that I was a soccer hooligan and if I saw someone wearing a jersey of a rival team, I would proceed to beat the snot out of that individual.

What do you think are the odds that this would actually happen? I ask, because it happened.

On campus I ran into a biology professor wearing a Feyenoord jersey. After I stopped my hysteric laughter, I explained my hooligan-hallowe'en costume to him and then he told me his hooligan story.

When he lived in Holland he didn't dare wear his jersey because the recent hooligan violence had become quite bad...

The hooligans on both sides have always been known for their fanatic supporting, but in recent years they have gone way over the top. They started singing discriminating and humiliating songs about the other club and also the fighting became worse. A climax was reached in March 1997 when one Ajax-hooligan died in an organized fight between Ajax- and Feijenoord hooligans. This fight took place on a day that no game was planned, it had nothing to do with winning or losing a match, it was orchestrated only to fight and to show which team had the "best fans". The fans decided where and when to fight over their mobile phones and by the time the police arrived it was already too late; one Ajax-fan was killed...

I did not beat the snot out of him and he did not beat the snot out of me. We went our separate ways and I gorged on candy.

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