My Personal Introduction to Football
Football v Rugby
My father thought that I needed to be shown what a real sport was; according to him rugby isn’t a real sport. I will not mention what went through my mind at that moment but it was not pleasant. As far as I am concerned, the All Blacks are the only sports team that matter and to be told that they don’t play a real sport made me see red, but I kept quiet and let him go on about soccer being the only sport that involved any sort of skill.
Arsenal v Man U
So when my father said he was going to get Arsenal v Manchester United tickets for us, I went along with him, after all it was not every day that my Dad and I did something together and what harm could there be and for as long as I can remember, Dad has been an ardent Man U fan.
Grown Men Fighting
I was shocked, to say the least. There were fanatical supporters hurling abuse at one another, physical fights, swearing, drunks and near riots. All this and we were only buying the tickets! By now I couldn’t wait to get to the actual game.
By comparison, what I saw at the ticket office was mild compared to the match itself. The crowd was deafening, there were the football hooligans that I had read about, more drunks and the fights were totally out of control. It was better than any movie I had ever seen and the atmosphere was absolutely electric.
The Football Match
The match itself was quite boring to me; it was the spectators that made it a great event to attend. I have never seen so many people get so emotional over a pack of men chasing a little white ball around a field! Granted the rugby world cup in 1995 was an emotional time for most All Black fans but this was nothing compared to what I was seeing.
When we left the Stadium; which I must say was impressive, there were grown men sitting on the ground, with their head in their hands, openly weeping. Then there were the supporters of the winning team who were so ecstatic I though they must have all seen something that I hadn’t.
It was an experience of a lifetime. I had things hit me in the back of the head, heard language that I didn’t even know existed and watched men turn into sobbing, emotional wrecks.
I'm Going Again
It had to be one of the most surreal things that I had ever seen and I would do it again in a flash. This time though, I would take a camera, ear plugs and possibly a hard hat so that it didn’t hurt so much when I got hit by some unknown flying object.
My father thinks that he has succeeded in turning me into a football fanatic but that will never happen. Although I dare say that I am much more interested in, not so much the game itself, but the individuals that are so fanatical about the sport.