Scotland #5: Hamish McHamish and Football Rivalry

Hamish McHamish

Hamish McHamish doing his thing

Living in St. Andrews for a few weeks, you start to learn a few things. Tesco stops selling alcohol at 10:00. There’s a cover charge at the Vic on the weekends after 11:00. And lastly,

Hamish McHamish

. Who is this friendly feline? McHamish is the town’s closest thing to a mascot, a communal pet. Going on 13 years, McHamish is a ginger cat who roams the streets like any other vagabond. From shops to doorsteps, locals and tourists spot him strutting his tail along the cobblestone pathways of St. Andrews. McHamish has drawn so much attention in the last few years that there has been a book written about him, a token to his feline glory.
Hamish’s Book

Besides displaying an unbridled enthusiasm for McHamish, Scots, and St. Andreweans alike, watch a good deal of sports. The most popular sport to play or watch is rugby. But

football

, or soccer, is a close second. During breakfast one early morning, Maya asks Duncan, “Are Scottish people very religious?” Duncan, a knowledgeable Scotsman with a heavy tolerance for the bottle, replies in short, “No, not really.” He then explains the religious ties to football in Scotland. Evidently, the two most popular football clubs in Glasgow, Celtics and Rangers, have an age-old rivalry that transcends the game itself; the spectator rivalry has in the past become quite violent. But this isn’t only a result of unfair slide-tackles or bad calls. The shared rivalry, which I can now call hatred, stems from a wee thing called  sectarianism. Glasgow RangersGlasgow Celtics

When the football players take the field, they don’t represent merely their team, but rather their

religion

Football, Real Madrid, Manchester United

Real Madrid Vs. Manchester United

and beliefs. A match between these two teams is a battle of religions. Essentially, the battle is one between Catholicism and Protestantism. History tells us, the Ranger supporters are Protestant while the Celtic fans follow the Catholic Church. Still Interested? All in all, the tension has died down some. Yet, it’s very difficult to erase hundreds of years of rivalry and hatred. For the sake of the game and the peace of the nation, something has to give. Football is still very much alive and breathing in Scotland despite the clash of traditions. Cool down your tensions and set aside your differences with some of this music from Gigantic Friend.

Check out Gigantic Friend

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