Some things are more important than winning. It took me a long time to figure that out.
As an American sports fan, you’re ingrained with the idea that if you’re not first, you’re last. And, being a Cleveland fan in every major sport, I was last every single year of my life. Even when we got agonisingly close to a title, there was little in it for me except the cold hard reality that I supported a losing team and would probably do so for the rest of my life so what was the point? Yeah, there’s the hope before every season that maybe, just maybe your team will win it all, only to be smacked in the face midway through. Disinterest settled in. The problem is that even though I lived very close to Cleveland, I never felt connected to them. They were just there for my entertainment and nothing else.
With that said, I (literally) stumbled upon Spurs during summer of 2005, I was caught up in the atmosphere, the wonder, and the genuine excitement of discovering something completely foreign to me. SOCCER. Don’t worry, that word left my vernacular very soon after. As an American, trying to wrap your mind around a game that can end in a draw was ludicrous, and actually SINGING at a match? HA! But, the more I watched, the more I became involved and understanding of the game itself. Once Spurs chose me to support them, I was in head first with reckless abandon. And what a first season it was! Being top 4 until LasagnaGate, watching Robbie Keane dazzle us all, and even almost witnessing a touchline brawl between Big Martin Jol & Arsene Wenger. I remember being disappointed at finishing 5th. Little did I truly understand how dire the previous decade had been.
The more I listened, the more my philosophy on football changed. Over the next year, I began to reevaluate what it was to be a Tottenham Hotspur supporter.
The next several seasons saw some high highs and low lows. ‘Such is the life of a Spurs supporter’, I’d been told at the start of my football watching life. He wasn’t wrong. I was wrapped up in transfer dealings, managerial goings on, which players wanted out, ITK b*ll**ks, and everything else surrounding the team. I was more concerned about winning at all costs than anything else. After the Berbatov saga, I lost the plot a bit. I didn’t care where we bought our players from, as long as they could help us win. Gallas was a Gooner? So what? He could help the back line. RVP? Yeah, I’d have him. I was becoming amoral in my need for glory.
Then, a startup podcast that sounded like something taped in a back alley popped up called The Fighting Cock. After I brushed aside images of knife-wielding penises, I decided to give it a listen. The more I listened, the more my philosophy on football changed. Over the next year, I began to reevaluate what it was to be a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. I asked myself why I loved this club. And I came to one conclusion; It’s about the people. The community. The idea that no matter where you are, there might just be another Spurs fan not too far away from you. The idea that there are true heroes to be held in high esteem and with one magical quote, can give you an entire life philosophy from a few sentences. People like Bill Nicholson, Keith Burkinshaw, Gary Mabbutt and more recently Ledley King. The glorious moments watching the genius of Glenn Hoddle, Paul Gascoigne, and David Ginola. Even with Berbatov you knew you were watching something special. The result almost becomes secondary. The pride of knowing you support an amazing club with amazing fans is what really matters to me. I look at Tottenham in such a different light compared to the end of the 2010-11 seasons. I thank The Fighting Cock for giving me a completely different perspective on Tottenham that someone in Ohio wouldn’t be able to get without actually living over there. For me, it’s not about winning or losing. It’s simply about being Spurs.
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