Fleeting Nature of Human Compassion

Moments I remember EURO 2020 for

Mahidhar K
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself
3 min readJul 18, 2021

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Image by Wolfgang Rattay : Getty images

EURO 2020 was concluded on 18th July 2011, a year after it was originally scheduled due to covid-19 pandemic. Football is the most popular sport in Europe and brings great joy to fans including me. Week on week fans queue up to watch their favourites clubs play. Of course, in the last 1 year fans had to compromise to enjoy football from their homes due to social distancing.

Euro cup, which is played once in every 4 years, garners a high craze. Fans, being allowed to watch from sidelines, added more to this joy. Football pundits say this was the most entertaining edition in last 25 years in terms of goals scored per game. Truly a joy for the football fans. Yet, this will not be what I would remember EURO 2020 for..

High Point

In the opening stages of the competition, Danish player Christian Eriksen, who can be easily named among the most talented players in Europe currently, collapsed during the match due to a cardiac arrest. Danish players showed great compassion when they created a human wall around him and provided medical staff the space and privacy required to complete emergency procedure. One could also see Danish Captain consoling Eriksen’s wife. I was witnessing the moment on TV and it was no less emotional for me.

After Eriksen was declared stable, Danish players resumed the match. They faced their opponents with most admirable courage after what they have gone through. Their performance was burdened by trauma and one can see that they fumbled in key moments. Another day, they could have emerged victorious in the game. They picked themselves up after the loss and went to put a great show during the competition scoring many goals and ended up losing in Semi Finals. The compassion they showed on the field turned into grit. It was visible in their play.

Low Point

Denmark lost to England in Semi finals. England, although started the competition slowly, started showing great signs as a team. Historically, England was bestowed with strong players on paper with minimal results. But it looked different now. The hopes were high for English fans. They faced a very tough opponent in Italy who had a great run before and during the tournament.

England started the final in a great fashion when they scored a great team goal within first 5 minutes. As the game went on ,Italy broke through and game ended in 1–1 draw. There was nothing to separate two teams even after playing additional 30 minutes. The game went to a Penalty shoot out, where players from each team will take turns to shoot the ball into the goal from 12 yards with only goal keeper to stop the kick. 3 of the English players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka missed their kicks and Italy went to win the EURO 2020.

Image by Goal; Left to Right : Saka, Sancho, Rashford and Sterling

These 3 players, unfortunately, had to face huge racial abuse from some of the disappointed English fans. These are 3 young and hardworking players who wore English symbol on their hearts. Some fans could only see their colour. At a time when these players most needed them, their racist fans let them down. What happened to human compassion which the football community showed less than a month ago? Their brains immediately went to their racial biases. The high desire to win made these fans drop compassion.

Human compassion is a great virtue. It is clearly something unique to us when compared to other species. Let us not have our selfish desires engulf compassion. Let’s use our compassion and turn in into grit.

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Mahidhar K
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself

A Product Manager | Interested in Mathematics, philosophy and trekking.