Archive for June 15th, 2009

15
Jun
09

How did you fall in love with Arsenal?

Today, I’m testing out an idea I have.

I could blah blah about Mathew Upson (sure, let’s break all traditions and sign the former Gunner), I could join the chorus of voices that are saying that the Cesc to Barca story is crap, I could give you an analysis of Cesc’s goal against some footballing backwater, or I could link some more speculation about so and so coming to Arsenal.

But instead, I want to hear from you. I want to hear your story of how you became an Arsenal fan. So, please post your story in the comments section  below. And if everyone could stay respectful of each other, it would be much appreciated.

To kick this off, here’s my story…

I’m an American. I was born in Pennsylvania to two “full blooded” American parents. And apart from a stint in Germany when I was a boy I have lived in America my whole life. As a good American, I grew up calling football “soccer” and American Football “football.” I loved and I played American Football. I never kicked a “soccer” ball in any serious way until just a few years ago.

In the mid 80’s I moved to Tacoma, WA. Few people outside of Tacoma and fewer outside of America remember the abortion that was MISL, but the Tacoma Stars was my first introduction to “soccer.” I saw a few games live and I think I probably said “those guys are fags.” But hey, I am an American and worse, an American Football jock and that’s just how we were back then: small minded assholes. This is all to say that for many people I have no legitimate claim on football and no legitimate reason to love Arsenal. If only life were that simple.

In the 90’s I got sick of watching American Football and the annual rules changes and generally boring nature of the sport. Sure, there were a few moments of interest, like when teams played the “hurry-up offense.” But American Football left me wanting more.

So I drifted from sport to sport looking for something to latch onto. Something that provided me with non-stop action, beauty, a respect for defense, and moments of orgasmic glory.

By 1998 I was sick of Basketball (my love affair with basketball should be it’s own blog) and by the luck of the gods I caught a game on a new channel here in the states; Fox Soccer Channel. Over the next year I watched as many “soccer” matches as I could. But I couldn’t settle on a team, until I watched Arsenal play a home match at Highbury. The camera angles were better, the seats seemed closer, the stadium was beautiful, and the action was intense.

Since that fateful day I have spent all winter finding ways to watch matches live and three months of the summer slavishly searching the internet for news. In 2004 I had to pay-per-view matches. This was before the days of Setanta; Arsenal, when not on Fox Socccer Channel were only available to me if I gave $20 to my local cable monopoly. 2005-2008 have been, well, magical. I haven’t missed more than a handful of matches since 2005; hell, I have more access to live Arsenal matches than most people I know in England.

Along the way, I have been to London four times; once to see Charlton at Highbury (2006), once to see Reading at the new Emirates stadium (2007) and again to see Blackburn (2008) and just this year (2009) to see Sunderland . Sure, I went to the museums and drank beer and chatted with locals and had a great time in spite of all that because I got to see Arsenal every time.

What’s your story?

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