Share Your Passion: Warehouse Manager James on Soccer
Coming from a soccer family, I am beyond excited that the sport I love has gained so much ground over the past few years. Growing up, I didn’t just play the game, I religiously watched the World Cup every four years. It was so big in my family that I was even allowed to miss school if there was a big game (I.E.: England v. Argentina ‘98) and it was something all of my siblings and I looked forward to. If it wasn’t for the recent popularity in the states, I don’t think I would be able to be as enthusiastic as I am about the sport as a whole.
Although the U.S. National Team didn’t do all that well in the 2006 World Cup (despite tying Italy) the popularity of soccer afterwards inspired Fox Sports to start airing English Premier League games and, as cheesy as it sounds, this was a life changing time for me. I started recording every game that aired so that I could watch them before I went to bed (just after I caught up on Flight of the Conchords, of course). I was hooked. Having only watched international soccer before this, I was amazed to see players from more than 40 countries play in a single league with only 20 teams. The pace of the game, the accuracy of the plays, and the enthusiasm of the fans were completely different to what I was used to, but it was so amazing to watch. This was my new favorite pastime!
During my first season of watching, I knew that I needed to chose a club to follow, but it was going to be a tough pick. With 20 teams per season and three clubs that are relegated and another three that are promoted to/from the second tier, it’s difficult to keep up. I decided to give myself the entirety of the season to decide. Being naturally drawn to the underdog I was interested in teams that had seen relegation but always seem to make it back to the Premiership quickly.
After the first half of the season was completed (and after a lot of contemplation) I dwindled it down to four teams: Wigan Athletic, Newcastle United, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspurs. There was a lot to look into before choosing a team, since they all have so much history and a different style of play. Over the stretch of the season, it became increasingly difficult and again, it was easier for me to like teams that fought for their wins (or loses). And although Tottenham ended their season higher on the table than the team I ended up supporting, they seemed too entitled and lost my potential loyalty when I realized they threatened to fire their manager if he didn’t make it in the top four (Champions League). So it was now down to three.
After getting myself down to three teams to choose between, I thought it would be easy. “Pick the one that is higher on the table come the end of the season,” I told myself. Done and done. If it wasn’t for a game between West Ham and Man U (two days before my birthday, mind you) apparently I would have become a Newcastle United supporter. Manchester United started the game with players like Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and of course Cristiano Ronaldo, so they were obviously favored to win. But West Ham knew that a loss meant relegation, again.
My dad, who has always (allegedly) loved Manchester United, and I watched the game together and we were on the edge of our seats the entire game. West Ham played insane defense denying 20 shots on goal (I actually looked up match facts, my memory isn’t really this strong) and they themselves only took six. But there was really only one out of all 26 shots between the two teams that counted — a goal by the one and only Carlos Tevez in the 47th minute of the first half. It was incredible! Even just watching this on TV and seeing the celebration from the team, the coaching staff and the fans, was simply indescribable. If you ask any soccer fan about Carlos Tevez, chances are they’ll make some joke about his arrogance, but if you ask any West Ham United supporter about him, Carlos Tevez is a legend.
Oh, if you haven’t picked up on it yet, I chose West Ham as my team.
With a relegation in the ‘10/’11 season, then promoted back to the Premiership and a near relegation this past season, it’s been a bumpy road. But I knew what I was getting myself into and I still love the club which has inspired two tattoos. With the West Ham song being Forever Blowing Bubbles, my artist/fellow-West-Ham-United-supporter-friend decided the sailor blowing bubbles was a subtle enough West Ham reference.
No need for subtleties on this tattoo, it’s their crest from the year I was born. They also won the league that same year.
|Post written by James Cramer, our “Beer Traffic Controller” and Kickball Team Captain; West Ham United fanatic who is obsessed with most things soccer related; Player of Indoor Soccer, Soccer Volley (soccer on a tennis court), Foot Golf (exactly what it sounds like) and attempted foot bowling.|
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