Ok, first let me apologize for the lack of posts lately. I may get into the reasoning for the lull on a later post, but rest assured it pretty much has everything to do with me being lazy and tired and having a broken laptop. Now that I have taken care of the housekeeping matters, let us move onto the post.
For a while now an a friend/avid reader of this blog believe it or not) has been beeeeeeegggging me to watch a Tottenham Hotspur game with her at a pub by her apartment in Brooklyn. We'll call her Mrs. Met ("MM"). MM, like myself, is an anglophile. Unlike myself, she has actually spent substantial time in merry old England, so she isn't a poser (like me). While across the Atlantic, MM picked up an appreciation for most things British including soccer and became a fan of the Tottenham Hotspur. The Hotspur are tough luck losers and second class citizens in the EPL (that's the English Premier League, for the uninformed), making them the EPL version of the Mets/Jets, which instantly made them somewhat endearing you me. As a brief aside, I'm fully aware that the Sports Guy became a Tottenham Hotspur fan in his brief foray into EPL soccer, and I know I have a reputation of ripping off the Simmons' jokes and writing style, so believe me that the irony is not lost on me. Anyway, so MM had been beeeeggggiiiing me to go catch a game with her at the local Hotspur hotspot and after she found a game that didn't start at 7am EST, I agreed.
I am have never considered myself a soccer fan. I never played the game growing up. When soccer was all the rage and hailed as the next big thing, I embraced it much like a white, blue collar Farmingville resident embraces an El Salvadorian. I wrongfully perceived soccer as a threat to my beloved baseball, and in my mind, the American sports landscape wasn't big enough for the both of them.
I have since grown up and matured since my teenaged years (shaadup!) and was now willing to give soccer another chance. I figured what better opportunity than watching the Carling Cup finals, in a English Pub chock full of Tott'nam Hotspur fans.
The morning starts off splendedly as upon entering the pub (Floyd's), I encounter a black guy with an English accent. Next to a white guy with a Carribbean accent, this is one of my favorite sight/sound combinations. From here on out, I'm playing with house money.
The game hasn't started yet, but everyone is already chanting, chanting, and chanting some more. It's barely 10am, but Floyd's patrons are already sauced up and I wouldn't expect it any other way. The vibe of the group? I'd categorize it as fervent college fans, but without those fans who don't know anything about the sport and just cheer like idiots simply because they are enrolled in a particular school (Klotsche Krazies, I'm looking at you).
The group is slow to warm to me in part because of the gravity of the game, in part because I'm a new face, but mainly because I'm an additional dude in a place where the guy-girl ratio isn't a favorable one. It probably didn't help matters that I was pretty quiet as I wanted to take in the whole scene. Plus MM had warned me repeatedly not to be a douchebag and I figured the best way to do that was to refrain from speaking.
Not long after the start of the match, it becomes apparent that every Chelsea player is either a cunt or wanker, depending on the how badly the player flopped. If you get touched slightly, roll on the ground for a couple minutes, but don't draw a card, you're most likely to be classified as a wanker. If you do all of the above and draw a card or penalty kick, then my friend, you are cunt. This scene certainly isn't for the Julia C's of the world (a little inside I know), as the C word gets thrown around with enough reckless abandon to make even a Vagina Monloguer blush.
The game is a hotly contested one and goes into overtime. Like a typical American I thought OT was sudden death and was ready to start looting and rioting after Tottenham scores, but alas my enthusiam is tempered once I realize that there is another fifteen minutes to play.
What I enjoyed most about Hotspur fans is that like Mets and/or Jets fans, they expect failure up until the final whistle is blown. No lead is ever big enough, and the refs, the world, and the gods are against them. It is no coincidence that I was informed that many Tottenham fans are also Mets fans.
Thankfully, Tottenham did win and I was able to witness some good, old fashioned celebrating. Glasses were broken, men hugged and were hugged, pictures were taken (mostly by MM), and fight songs were sung and sung some more. I enjoyed watching all of this transpire, but at the same time felt a disconnect because I was there as an outsider observing other people's euphoria, wishing just once I could celebrate the championship of a team I've rooted for, cared about, and loved for my entire life. The 2003 St. John's NIT championship doesn't cut it, sorry Grady Reynolds.
[Insert cliched conclusory paragraph about how wrong I was to have dismissed soccer as a youth and how I've gained a deeper appreciation for the sport.]