*Warning: The following article is majorly influenced by football, and I don’t play football. Just a warning for the experts. And yes, I did see the Champions League final*

Forgive me Facebook (and Twitter, Instagram and all other gods), for I have sinned.

From the deepest valleys of hell, I have committed a sin so grave that it can only be pardoned if I accept my complete foolishness and ignorance.

I have supported something, which happens to be popular.

And you, yes you too are no exception my friend. So get down and pray.

In recent times, have you ever expressed your love for your favorite sports team, especially football club, or maybe your favorite actor? Perhaps you have expressed your liking for a movie you recently saw?

God forbid that it was someone, or something, popular.

Because if it was, then you must have seen one of the many evil heads of the hydra of social networking. They don’t really have a particular name. You can’t call them haters, trolls, or jerks. No, they fall into a different classification which borders on know-it-all expert critiques of every topic imaginable. They have an urge, based on years and years of internet expertise from Wikipedia and Reddit piling upon itself creating a huge tome of ‘niche-loving’ expertise.

I happen to love certain popular things in my life. All the football clubs which I like happen to be out of the most popular ones of their country. There is a general assumption among the kind of people I mentioned above that a person who supports a popular football club knows nothing of football as a game, does not appreciate the art of the game and is just another crowd follower. Even if that is not the case, I say where is that wrong?

There are several things, along with the game itself, that contribute to the ever expanding popularity of such entities. Publicity, association with big names, a focus on the display of grandeur or fame and the flow of money. Take these out of football for example, and would it be half of what it is now? It would become what cricket was not too long ago: a game only popular in certain places where it has been played since a long time with no individual ever being able to prove his true mettle and receive the deserved recognition. In fact the same exists undeniably in cricket too, but only in countries where it has been played mostly since colonial days. Yet there is not one country that hasn’t heard of the football world cup, Beckham, Maradona, and most probably by now, Messi etc.

The above mentioned classification of haters do not restrict their criticism to logic. They will ask you stupid questions like, “How many players of the team can you name?” or “How many matches have you seen of the team, especially in the stadium?”. My answer to that is, “How many kids have they inspired to take up the sport, even in the remotest corners of the world, giving them a hope to be recognized someday for what they are worth in their hearts?” They deserve to be supported.

Lest you think that this behavior is particularly restricted to football, let me tell you one other field where it is evident from my own experience: Music. If you ever happen to confess that your favorite band is one of the most popular ones, be ready for the torrential downpour of expert critique on everything starting from the scales of the vocalist’s voice to the flatness of the guitarists chord. I mean, how many people even notice that while listening to a song?

When was the last time you posted about seeing a normal commercial movie, maybe even a *masala flick* by Indian standards, and didn’t receive criticism for it?

And don’t even get me started on the language. Apparently, human excreta is something very popular to compare things to, if you are an expert.

Since books are something much closer to my heart than any of the above, I won’t discuss how people react about popular books. For me, book pretenders are the worst kind of sinners the world of art has ever faced. There will be people who deride you for reading Jeffrey Archer or Arthur Hailey, force a recommendation of Murakami or Gorky on you, then run back home to look up words from Chetan Bhagat in a dictionary.

These are just my views. The views of a know-nothing fan who supports the things he does because of the way they make him feel. And if you say it is about supporting smaller upcoming talent more than the popular ones because they need it, that’s what the talent scouts are paid in millions for, aren’t they?

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