Sunday, 12 January 2014

A curse or a blessing?

If I could pin-point the moment where my life took a dramatic turn for the worst, it would be just hours after my birth.

We still have the photograph somewhere. Me in the hospital in a cot beside my mother. A Birmingham City scarf draped around me.

A lot of the time we don’t have a choice in life and this was one of the moments I had no control over. First born and landed with the curse of supporting the Blues; there was no way I was ever going to get out of this one, not if my dad had anything to do with it.

But over twenty years on and, despite the tears I’ve shed, the copious amounts of money I’ve spent and the times I’ve been let down, again and again, the curse has, in my eyes, become more of a blessing.

Sometimes you wonder, when you’re in places like Burnley and Leeds and you’re watching your team being played off the park and being taught a good little footballing lesson, why you do it.

But then you look around you to your friends beside you. The ones who were born into the same tradition as you, the ones who you share the same experiences with every week, and the ones who make the losses that little bit more bearable.

And it’s not been all gloom and doom either. There have been happier times. The wins over the top teams, the battling performances where you’re left feeling as proud as you ever could be of those eleven players on the pitch, the promotions, the Premier League survival, playing in Europe, even winning a trophy.

Even yesterday, as I saw my team get beat by Brighton in a somewhat frustrating match, I thoroughly enjoyed my day. I spent it with some brilliant people, had a laugh and watched some football. I wouldn’t want to spend my Saturdays, or often my Tuesdays, doing anything different.

Because as much as I joke about Blues having a negative impact on my life – and probably my health too – I wouldn’t be without them.

As much as I berate my dad for passing down the curse, I thank him for it too.

As much as I complain as a trudge out yet another ground after yet another loss, I smile at the same time.

Because Birmingham City, despite all its faults, has given me some of the best days of my life, allowed me to meet some fantastic people, and taken me to places I never would have gone to were it not for football.

So in a sense I suppose while in those first hours of my life I was condemned to a lifetime of supporting a mediocre football team who will seldom achieve anything special; it’s opened my eyes to making the most out of bad situations and laughing in the face of adversity.

It’s not that I can’t find a way out of this; it’s that I just don’t want to.

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