Almost every weekend for the past few months, I have been glued to the television (which many know is not a normal occurrence for me, anyway) to watch the boys of Manchester United play. I’m the first to admit that I know one thing, and one thing only, about soccer–sorry, football–which is a ball in the net equals a point. Simple enough, since the same basic principle also works for hockey (another sport about which I know one thing, and one thing only–sorry, M.)
I grew up in the southeastern United States–Tennessee, to be exact. My blood runneth orange and all that stuff. I cheered for football and basketball throughout high school, so I can tell you enough about those sports that I don’t look like a blathering idiot. Football (American football [wow, this could get confusing]) is pretty much a way of life, especially if you live anywhere in the general vicinity of Knoxville. I’ve been in living rooms where grown men have flung themselves to the floor and stomp or cry over whatever play just went wrong. I’ve watched grown men dance in victory when a player they’ve never met does something spectacular. I understand the love of the game, whatever the game may be
After five years of marriage to a man from Europe, I’m well aware that this same love translates well to soccer (sorry, football [real football, according to my husband.]) It’s only recently that I’ve begun to really pay attention to what’s going on during the game instead of burying my head in my laptop with my headphones in. His favorite players are slooooowly becoming my favorite players. The amazing feats of athleticism have me jumping out of my seat with excitement, even though I’m not entirely sure what just happened. I’ve watched the table with interest to see how many points separate Manchester United from the second place team, feeling those tiny tendrils of joy in my belly when it looks like none of the other teams have a chance of catching up. Suffice it to say, I’ve become a Manchester United fan, and I’m actually quite okay with that.
Now, since I’m late to the game, so to speak, I’m constantly saying and doing stuff to make myself look pretty stupid. Of course, I have no idea that I look stupid. I’m trying to show a little enthusiasm for my husband’s favorite thing in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. This means I ask questions sometimes, and that’s where the real fun begins…for him. A sample of conversation, if you like–
Me: What just happened there?
Liam: Need me to rewind it?
Me: No, no. I saw it. I just don’t know what happened. Why is that guy getting a yellow card? He just fell.
Liam: He fell into someone.
Me: But he just fell, right? He didn’t do it on purpose.
Liam: You’re so cute.
So, I don’t quite understand the rules, as I previously stated. I know what puts points on the board, but the rest of the time I’m just trying to follow the ball around the field (sorry, pitch.) Instead of trying to show my superior knowledge and interest by spouting the rules of the game, I tried to learn something about the other teams. It’s good to know the enemy, right? The only thing is, while I’m really turning into a true Manchester United girl, I’ll always have a soft spot for the underdog. When you add to this the fact that I just don’t get it (and by it I mean IT), it’s like I’m begging for even more giggles from my husband. A conversation from this morning, if you please–
Me: Oh, look! It looks like the Wolves aren’t going to be relegated! (Wolverhampton is my underdog team of choice this season.)
Liam: You’re so cute.
Me: What did I say now?
Liam: They aren’t the Wolves. Just Wolves.
Me: That’s stupid. We call the Vols “the Vols.”
Liam: Wolves isn’t the name of their mascot. It’s the name of the city. It’d be like saying the Manchester, or the Nashville.
Me: I thought the city was Wolverhampton?
Liam: You’re so cute.
Doesn’t matter. I’ll learn. And I’ll keep wearing my (husband’s) jersey with pride and spout off player names when anyone tries to challenge my devotion to my (new) favorite sports team. I’ll still cheer when they score and ask stupid questions when I don’t know what’s going on. Most of all, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna keep on loving Manchester United.
Congrats, boys, on your nineteenth English League championship!