On Being a Football Fan

Football as in football. Not the overhyped overmarketed oversteroided American version currently in playoff season. Yes my Packers lost yesterday and while I do love my Packers, my mind wasn’t on Dom Capers’s blitz schemes against Colin Kaepernick or the health of Jordy Nelson. It was squarely focused on whether or not Mikel Arteta would be available this morning. I’ve long been a sports fan, grew up in the Michael Jordan era, came of age in brief window of glory that was Brett Favre before we all got to know him as a misogynistic asshole, and even got to see the brief era of wonder that was the Sammy Sosa-era Cubs when we were all still naïve about PEDs. I was there, at Chicago Stadium and the United Center, at Lambeau Field, at Wrigley more times than I’d care to count. Yet despite the agonizing over, say Rick Aguilera’s elbow or Antonio Freeman’s hamstring, I never was actually a fan.

I didn’t know what it’s like to live and die with a team, to wake up with them on your mind, to count down the minutes and hours until the next fixture, to painstakingly search out every last bit of information you can find about the club, what personnel moves they’re making (or contemplating making), to put their fucking logo on your body, to put their seal on your car, to pick up every book ever written about them, to watch a film related to them (“Fever Pitch”) so many damn times I can quote the entire thing by heart… until Arsenal. Yes, I watched every minute of Team USA since I was like 12, and when I lived in Germany I went to several Hertha matches and watched the rest with German drinkers who wondered why I was cheering Hertha.

But nothing comes close to how deeply I love my Arsenal. Speak ill of the Gunners and I might just punch you. Speak ill of any fellow Gooner and I will certainly punch you. Most Americans probably have no idea who Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Wojciech Szczesny even are, but to me those names are written in gold on a field of red, not to mention names like Thierry Henry or Dennis Bergkamp, which are just in pure unvarnished gold. I haven’t yet been to the Emirates, but I imagine it would be like Nick Hornby going to Highbury: a purely reverential experience. I imagine I’ll walk in and stop just to breathe, close my eyes and feel the energy, the presence around me. And then sit down for a thrashing of QPR or West Ham or maybe if I can afford it on a tourist’s budget Liverpool or Chelsea.

Football is my passion, my obsession, and the two and a half hours I get to watch my Gunners are — in lieu currently of having an actual church — my weekly observation. If I’m lucky, fixture-wise, twice-weekly. Bulls, Packers, Cubs may rise and fall — don’t think I don’t care! — but if I’m sulky when we cross paths, chances are Arsenal dropped points over the weekend. It’s not you, it’s likely Gervinho.

Simply: Gunner for Life.

~ by Benji on January 13, 2013.

One Response to “On Being a Football Fan”

  1. Fuck you all Forex bustard


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