In my group of friends, I’ve got six real girly girls who couldn't tell a rugby ball from a football, a fair-weather Manchester City fan and an avid Aston Villa fan, and then there’s me, a Birmingham City fan. So it's only right that I get asked by the six that don't see the interest in the whole thing: why football? What is it that attracts you to twenty-two players (although they probably don't know there’s twenty-two players..) running around on a pitch for ninety plus minutes? And it's only now, after years of being asked, that I’ve stopped to question it myself. Why football?
I could say “because it’s the first sport/activity I ever did” but I’d be lying. I started with dance when I was about three.. and stopped when i was around five due to my lack of coordination. It was then when I adopted football. With a Blues mad father and a Man City supporting mother, I was always going to be roped into football some time or another. I think with me being the first child, my father had the casting vote, as men do, on which team I supported, as I was christened a bluenose and went to my first game at the age of five. Somewhat regrettably, I didn't go to many matches as a young child, and my dad has also expressed his regret in not taking me to more. I started to go to more games when i was about eleven and the amount of games since then has increased, as has my love for football. A deciding factor in not going to many games was that I actually played football up until the age of thirteen when I had to choose what I wanted more; to play football or to watch it. I loved playing football, and I think that's what made me love it more, but I just enjoyed watching it more than I did playing it. There was just something about it.
That brings me onto why I love football so much. After contemplating it, I could name 101 and more reasons why I love it. But the main reasons for me are why I truly love this sport, and why I’ll never lose my love for it:
It makes me feel part of something. It’s like a family; all of you feel the same, you’re all going through the same things - whatever team you support, but especially with the team you support. You know, after a hard loss say to your rivals, that the sadness and hurt you're feeling is being felt in thousands of other people, or when you win an important game or play out of your skins you know that the incredibly happiness and pride you're feeling is being felt in every other fan of your team. It just brings people together, and that links in with
Friends. I’ve met so many amazing people through football that I would’ve met if I hadn't of got into it. Some of these people have become my best friends, and they’ve changed my life for the better. And not just people from the team I support, with football you get to interact with people that you never would’ve known existed if it were not for you liking the same sport that you do. You’ve instantly got something in common with millions of people; football. And that's brilliant when you think about it, isn't it? Knowing all these people, having connections that stretch across the whole on the country. For me, that makes football special. And what makes it even more special?
The fact that it is an escape from everything. If I've had a bad week, say school has been rubbish or I've had a fall out with my friends, for ninety minutes on a Saturday (or a Sunday, thumbs up to sky for this one) I can just get away from it all. Because in that ninety minutes nothing else matters but football, and what my team does. It's brilliant. Of course, you can't escape too much from it when you've lost if you, like me, go to a school full on Aston Villa supporters. But nevertheless, It's still an escape, and a much welcomed one at that. This in turn ties in with
The emotions. This is everything in football. There's not many other things that let you experience pretty much every emotion there is. Football is a roller-coaster of emotions that you can never get off once you've got on. From the happiness you feel when your team wins to the crushing feeling you get inside when the full time whistle goes and you've lost; the nervousness before an important game and the relief felt when it's over; the expectation weeks before a big game; the adrenaline rush when you score; the elation of scoring a last minute goal - even thinking about some of these emotions now, these incredible feelings you only get with football, just makes me realise how lucky I was to be born into a footballing family. And it's not just the fans that experience the emotions; brining me onto
The players. Those talented enough to be playing the beautiful game at a professional level. The people we as fans look up to for inspiration, the players we put on a pedestal and idolize. Especially those that play for your team; it's great to watch them play, watch them show passion for a team that isn't even theirs, a team that they don't support at first maybe, but grow to support during the time they spend at your club. It's brilliant to watch the young ones grown into roles, watch the strong captains and older, most experienced players lead your team onto victory. And I don’t know how it is at every club, but at my club I can interact with the players; actually have conversations with them knowing that they genuinely want to speak to me. It's brilliant. So, i think it's time for the last reason why I love football...
It makes me, me. "Can you come out at the weekend everyone? I know Nat can't, she's got football." - nearly every week during the football season we have this conversation. They all know what I'm doing. Ever since they met me they've all got used to the fact that my Saturdays are pre-booked from august till may. I suppose this gives me a uniqueness within my friends, as there’s only two of us, including me, that go to football games. I feel that it defines me. Everyone knows that I'm football mad, and that I don't fit into the category of the stereotypical girl that doesn't know anything about football, as I get along well with boys because I can join in their conversations about football without asking "Who's Lionel Messi?" Football separates me from many of my friends, and that's why I feel like it gives me a difference in personality. It gives me something to separate myself from a lot of people I know, To reiterate: it makes me, me.
So, why football? Not only does it give me everything I’ve just mentioned, but it also, quite simply, gives me something to do. Without football, I’d be bored at the weekends; i'd have a pretty simple life and nothing that i could do as a hobby, because apart from music, football is the only thing that really interests me. Without football, I’d have a lot less friends; a lot of people i have met through social networking sites, mainly supports of my own team, i've met up with them and one of them is now one of my best friends. And without football, I’d have a lot more money! But to be honest, that wouldn't be enough to drive me away from this sport. Nothing ever will.
Football is a very addictive sport. It's like a drug; once you've started, you can't stop, and I think the one thing that's made me become more addicted to it is that I go to watch my team a lot. For me, football isn't as good if you don't go and watch it. That's why, living in Birmingham, i could never support Manchester United, Liverpool etc. because going to the games makes me feel like I'm part of it all. It makes me feel like more of a fan. I have to utmost respect for every football fan who supports a team that aren’t that close to where they live, or who doesn't go to see them that often: because I honestly don’t know how you do it. Without going to the games, I feel like I'm missing out big time on something that's happened at the match. When I'm on holiday and I can't go to home games I feel sad that I'm missing out on what could be a brilliant game, or something iconic could happen in that game that shapes the season; and I want to be there to witness it. Football is something that I couldn't be without, so I guess you could add that to the list of reasons why I love football - it completes me. You have your other hobbies; your rugby, your cricket, your shopping your whatever; and I have my football. I wouldn’t have it any other way.