What does supporting a team mean to you? Can it only be one team? Is more than one cheating? How does it make you feel? IBWM might be wrong, but we suspect it might just be a bit like Layla Carlsson feels.
Perhaps I have too much love to give, or maybe I’m just a greedy woman, but I simply need to have a favourite club in every league I follow. It’s impossible for me to watch a football league without falling in love with one of its clubs, a need to cheer for the chosen one and declare rivalry onto the others. This habit becomes troublesome time-wise, and sometimes one needs to multitask – which I, as an a-typical girl, am incapable of – and it can be rewarding as much as heart breaking when they all lose their matches in one weekend.
Some supporters might argue that a person can only truly follow one club, but I have a poly-amorous heart. I grew up with Ajax, and then fell in love with Arsenal and Real Madrid as well, tumbled head over heels into the arms of Boca Juniors, and lately I’ve been crushing heavily on Napoli. I adopted the Argentinian National Team, a country I have no blood ties to, but whose players speak to my imagination. It does get tricky however, when these clubs meet at international tournaments.
When Ajax and Real Madrid played against each other in the Champions League recently, it felt as if my childhood sweetheart was fighting my sexy Spanish lover. I was torn, and it hurt, but I had brought this upon myself and embraced the emotional aftermath of Ajax’s defeat and the happiness about Madrid’s win all in one breath.
What my ‘lovers’ have in common is passion, be it a love for attacking football or an exhilarating sense for drama and epic victories, they have won my heart and I can’t let go. They can count on me to defend them like a lioness when needed. And like in any real life affair, I will yell at them when they’re having a collective brain fail. They show me passion, and I repay them. I’ve even re-scheduled a date with an insanely delectable guy just because Madrid were playing at that time.
As fans, we do crazy shit. We stay up until the wee hours of the night to watch a match in a different time zone. It’s almost bizarrely romantic; there you are at half past one in the morning, sitting at your computer or the TV. If you have a significant other, you’ve probably been rolled eyes at before they tell you in a bemused tone that “I’m going to bed now.” If you’re like me, a bit of a perpetual bachelor[ette], it’s great to watch as many matches as you wish, whenever you want. I can’t imagine any guy who would put up with me at this point, really. I’d be the idiot girlfriend who is wearing a Boca Juniors scarf in the middle of the night, sings along with the chants of La Bombonera and wakes you up by yelling “VIATRIIIIIII!!!” at some ungodly hour.
Whether you support one club, or have a whole herd of them, it still is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Passion. Passion, pride, a sense of belonging. Feeling sick to your stomach when someone brings up some horrible defeat that took place years ago, or feeling your heart flutter with joy at the thought of that one moment, that one match, when a handful of men became heroes. You remember exactly in which minute that goal was scored, who you were with, and how grown men burst into tears around you.
Emotion, pure and simple. Argentina versus Peru, all or nothing qualifying match. Here in Europe, it was already the middle of the night. Then Gonzalo Higuaín scored, and all wrapped up in the tension, I screamed and groaned, “Gonzalo, Gonzalooooo, oh GOD, YES! YES!!!”
My neighbours probably thought this Gonzalo guy was truly enjoying himself with that blonde from upstairs. I dread to think what they thought as I started screaming when Martín Palermo scored as well. “Martín! I f***in’ love you so much!” They probably don’t know I am a greedy woman.
The irrepressible Layla writes regularly for IBWM. You can read more from her here and make sure you follow her on twitter @LaylaCarlsson