So a few weekends ago the conglomerate of douchebaggery known as the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl thanks to well-timed passes by Tom Brady and the most horrific offensive play call in the history of football. After the interception, a friend of mine saw me laying prostrate on the floor and asked “Ally, are you dead?” To which I replied, “Yes.”
I don’t even like the Seahawks, and I was pissed. But in the spirit of fun and sport, I’d like to take this time to tell you about why I support the teams I do. Sometimes people ask me and it’s always fun to hear about why people support certain athletic teams, whether it’s because of a family tradition or because you got into the team on your own. So here we go!
Also, it’s Valentine’s Day, and nothing inspires love and obsession and all the things in between like sports.
The New York Giants.
For a few years I was a New England Patriots fan. Then, the whole “They might come to Connecticut so let’s blow a ton of money and ruin the economy to make room for them OH JUST KIDDING” shit happened and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I wasn’t really sure what football teams I liked, but I did support the Eagles whenever they played (more on that in a bit).
Then in 2008 I went to a friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl, when the 17-0 Pats took on the very young New York Giants. Now, knowing me and my family, you would assume I’d root for perfection. Not the case. I took a look at this polished, perfect machine that was the New England Patriots, and then I looked at the scruffy, ballsy team they were playing (led by human Muppet Eli Manning) and told my Dad “I hope the Giants win.” He scoffed, “They have no chance, Ally! The Pats are amazing this year!” But for some reason, I had a feeling. And the sight of the Pats joking around and being cocky SOBs throughout the first half of that game only compounded that feeling.
I was the only person at the party convinced the Giants would win. I should have put money down. The moment David Tyree pinned the ball to his head for the infamous Helmet Catch, I knew things were going to turn around. And I laughed in my dad’s face when Plaxico Burress made that touchdown catch. (And then regretted it when Burress got arrested for shooting himself in the crotch.)
Ever since then, I’ve been a massive fan of Big Blue. When they’re bad, they’re horrendous, but when they’re good, they’re stellar. The last two years have been annoying because the potential has been there but then they make a few defensively shitty decisions and then Victor Cruz got hurt, but with the rise of Odel Beckham Jr. I think they’ll be a good team next year.
Boston Red Sox.
Again, I like an underdog. Although I can’t even call the Sox underdogs now with all of their World Series wins over the past decade. But when I got into them in high school they were still that scrappy team with supremely shitty luck. When they lost the 2003 ACLS to the Yankees I was thrown into a depression. (Also, my best friend is a Yankees fan and she was my roommate at the time. That was fun!) Then, the next year, it was like a complete whirlwind – the bloody sock, the turnaround in the ACLS, and then the beating they put on St. Louis to win it all. I watched the final game in my dorm room and when that final throw to first sealed the Series, the screams of a hundred Sox fans reverberated through the halls of Buckley Hall.
Now, what can I say? Laser Show. Mike Napoli. BEARDS. They’re just the blue-collar heroes of my dreams. Plus BEARDS.
Are Sox fans annoying? Most definitely. Is it the biggest pain in the ass driving into Boston for games at Fenway? Of course, because Boston was designed by a drunk. But do I care? Nope.
The Philadelphia Eagles/Phillies.
“HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!” That’s the response I get from most people (usually Giants fans) when I tell them I’m also a fan of any pro team that plays in Philly (and until the whole issue with Ben Roethlisberger from the Steelers, I was into any pro team in Pennsylvania, period). I literally cannot watch Giants/Eagles games with my boyfriend’s group of friends because A) they’re all Giants fans and B) it usually results in a whirlpool of insults being thrown at Philadelphia.
My parents both grew up in Philadelphia. I’ve been going to Philly nearly every single year for as long as I can remember. It’s almost a second hometown to me. It’s the reason our beach house for fifteen years was at the Jersey Shore rather than the Cape – because Philly people go to the Jersey Shore.
“But what if the Red Sox/Philles or the Eagles/Giants play each other?!” you might howl.
Whoever wins, I’m fine with it. This year, the Eagles beat the Giants twice, and I was both happy and bummed out. It would have been the same if the Eagles had lost both of those games, too.
In 2008 when the Phillies won the World Series I was in a production of Camelot. I was getting updates from people in the show about how the games were going. During a quick change, a fellow Phillies supporter came up to me and lifted up his costume to show me he was wearing a Phillies shirt underneath, and told me they had clinched the series. I nearly screamed into my live microphone.
I don’t really watch a lot of hockey unless it’s college level or the Stanley Cup, so I can’t really say what hockey team I support. But the story of the Broad Street Bullies is fantastic, so if I were to have a hockey team it’d probably be the Flyers.
Liverpool Football Club (LFC).
I had never been a huge soccer fan. I was what you might call a Word Cup soccer fan – when the tournament was on, I’d watch it all day, and I knew who Landon Donovan and Tim Howard were, but had no idea who any European footballers were let alone the tons of South American and African ones. I knew about hooligans and how soccer culture was a huge deal in Europe but I had no idea how many fans of English clubs there were in the US. The only clubs I was familiar with were Manchester United (because David Beckham) and Arsenal (because someone I knew was a fan).
Boyfriend has been a Liverpool supporter for over 15 years, so one very snowy day three years ago he taught me about the culture of Liverpool Football Club. I ended up doing more research on my own and I learned about all of the players and the history of Anfield (oh, the beautiful Steven Gerrard), and most importantly I learned about the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, in which 96 Liverpool supporters were crushed to death as a result of an overcrowded stall and horrible police management. (ESPN’s 30 for 30: Soccer Stories produced an incredible documentary about it last year to commemorate the 25th anniversary. It’s really hard to watch but worth your time.) They’re a really wonderful club to support. The fanbase is rabid, but not douchey like a lot of other clubs in the PL (ahem, Chelsea FC).
I also learned that LFC’s official club anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” As in the classic song from Broadway’s Carousel. As in one of my favorite songs from Broadway, ever. So you can imagine my reaction when we went to Boston for Liverpool’s American tour three years ago and they BLASTED that song throughout Fenway Park, and I saw grown men screaming the lyrics to one of my favorite songs:
Three years ago, when we were in London for the Olympics, Boyfriend and I went to Anfield and took a tour of the grounds. Ever been to a church on a random day of the week when no services are going on, and it’s deathly quiet and vastly spiritual? That’s what it felt like on that pitch.
Plus, you know, Steven Gerrard is my favorite human.
Granted LFC have recently added some super adorable men to their squad (AHEM, Adam Lallana) but Stevie G will always be tops. Despite the fact he’s leaving the club at the end of the season to go to the LA Galaxy. Dammit.
I’m not sure what the point of this post was. But stay tuned next week – I’ll have something of more content then. They can’t all be searing critiques of the cultural landscape, guys.