Over the next few years I became an addict. No, I didn’t wake up in a cold sweat, shaking from withdrawal, shivering and sweating at the same time, all while plotting what lengths I’d be willing to go to in order to get my fix. I did, however, find ways to feed my addiction. I skipped classes, called out sick from work, shunned my girlfriend and purposefully failed to show up to various social events.
Basically I abandoned all other distractions because what else, if anything, is “being a fan”? I mean a real fan and not one who jumps on the bandwagon of the best team during their most successful moments, or one who refuses to take time out of their schedule to support their club. Fandom is supporting the team no matter what position they hold in the league. It’s supporting the team despite the fact that they are losing. It’s also an absolute investment in the belief that your individual support means something to the club; that it makes a difference.
These days, my addiction has resulted in a need to watch soccer – whenever I can get my eyes on it. In short, I’ve become a junkie of the beautiful game and my support, like my drug of choice, has expanded to include the New York Red Bulls and the United States Men’s National Team. The former play in my state of birth. The latter represent my country. Whenever they play, I live and die with these teams, their losses become my losses and equally their wins are my wins.
So why the confession? Why the brief history of my addiction to the beautiful game?
This is in invitation – a challenge even, to all who have yet to support a club team (and even those who already do). In just over two weeks, 20 clubs will begin their 10-month Barclays Premier League season. If you have not yet picked a team to support, do so. World Soccer Talk has made this quite easy, providing a beginners guide to the English Premier League (EPL), along with a TV/Internet schedule listing NBC’s quality coverage of every match – whether on television or via their streaming platform.
In short – pick a team. Follow their progress, study their roster, and research their history because there is something uniquely engaging about the sport. Especially one so loved worldwide, and few would deny its ability to unite (or divide). Allow this season to prove it to you. Sign up. Buy the ticket. Take the ride.