Now, I hate glory hunters. Children who support City or Chelsea because they’re good disgust me. The parents should be ashamed of themselves for depriving their kids of ever getting to watch proper football and confine their lives to Saturday afternoons in a sweaty pub watching a Ukrainian broadcast of the game.
I have been a Stalybridge fan virtually all my life. I have never really had the opportunity to choose who I support. I was taken to ‘Bridge games and fell in love. I never had the chance to be a glory hunter, or if I did I spurned the opportunity. I’ve never had the opportunity to support someone because they were good. Until now.
In recent months, I’ve become an avid watcher of NFL. Inspired by sitting in a packed out bar in Vegas, drinking beer, surrounded by whooping Americans in their jerseys, proud. Prouder than anything to support their team, yet enjoying the company of fans from around the nation. High-fiving their rivals after a good play. It was something I found comforting.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the game anyway, but I’d never really taken it seriously. But how can I possibly take it seriously without a team?
I have no affiliation with America. Following that large jug of Sam Adams, and a few more, I declared I will become a fan. I will follow my team home and away (from the comfort of my armchair, and unless it doesn’t get too late). I will don the colours of my team and wear them with pride. I will worship my favourite player and will paste an already put together wallpaper onto my computer screen.
One problem, who were my team?
I have crafted a list of ways to decide how to go about choosing a team. If this was football (soccer) or I lived in the US, it’d be no problem. It’s all about the geography.
But geographically, it’d be pointless.
I’ve decided to go down the best team route would make me not only a hypocrite but also I’d probably end up behaving like a City fan. And I wouldn’t wish that on anybody never mind myself.
The first method, ashamedly was best kit. I am a lover of a nice sports kit and have a few kits from around the globe that have just tickled the old fancy, so hey! why not combine the two?
“Ohh hey, did you catch the Vike’s game the other night,” asks a random man noticing me looking cool in my jersey. He seems pleasant, loves his sport. A proper man’s man.
“Yes, Yes I did.”
And so we’d chat about the game and bond over a cold ale. We’d probably even get into a round. And then…
“So, how come your a Vikings fan?”
“Well, ermm, I just, I just really liked the kit,” And then knowing me probably add, “Purple is just sooo my colour.”
Then he’d leave, and it’d probably be his round so not only would I seem extremely feminine but I’d lose out on a pint.
Next, which I think is a great way to pick a team, is a name that matched your personality. I thought long and hard about this. I’ve checked and checked the 32 teams of the NFL and sadly nowhere in the country is home to the Handsome-Sex-God-ers. So that was out.
Hang on I thought, whilst there are no Handsome-Sex-God-ers, there are lots of teams with cool names. Why don’t I just choose the coolest? I scanned the list again.
The Buccaneers? Na too piratey.
Vikings? Na I’d still feel like I was doing it because I’d get to wear purple.
Bengals? Orange, you must be joking!
I could go on. There are lots of great named teams. And there are lots of little reasons why not to support them. When you already love something, it’s easy to put up with little foibles. I was already in love with my girlfriend before I realised she chews really loudly and I was already in love with Stalybridge before I noticed, well I noticed they were really rubbish.
It’s a lot harder when you’re not yet in love. An orange kit? Oh God I don’t want to get involved with that. Could I really walk down the street with a picture of a dolphin on my t-shirt?
I let a few days pass on this. Well weeks actually. I looked for clues. Wherever they may be. There was the Marshall Eriksen factor. It did seem that all roads were leading me to Minnesota. I mean it’s as cold as Manchester right?
And then it hit me. Manchester. There’s Manchesters all over the planet. Geographically it wouldn’t be pointless. I’d find the closed team to Manchester, New Hampshire and support them. Support them with all my might. Be proud to wear the jersey of that team. Worship their Quarterback like he was David Beckham and their coach like he was Jim Harvey.
And with that I went to work. I went to work rather excited that when I got home, after some painstaking Christmas shopping, my new team would be found courtesy of Google Earth. I was ready. My team to support would be…
Well. Actually. After work, I did indeed go Christmas shopping. I also popped into Foot Locker on my way up to the station. I bought a Giants shirt. I’m a Giants fan now.
After a long, thought out plan to choose a team. I had chosen. I had chosen the Giants. I had chosen the Giants, ashamedly, based on the best looking jersey. The best looking jersey on the four they actually stocked.