Updated September 2, 2008
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 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 three times; once to see Charlton at Highbury (2006), once to see Reading at the new Emirates stadium (2007) and again to see Blackburn in 2008. Sure, I went to the museums and drank beer and chatted with locals and had a great time in spite of all that because Arsenal every time.
So, that’s who I am.
But why am I here?
Well, to give you some insight into my madness, to give you a uniquely American perspective on Arsenal, to get you an Arsenal scoop, and maybe brighten your day.
Well, cheers, I’m off!