It’s 7:45AM on a Saturday morning and I’m searching for parking in Cambridge, MA. Our local bar – the Phoenix Landing – has folks queuing up for seats along the side of the building.
When the line gets to be about 74 people deep, the manager opens the door and waves us in. I smile at her and wave my supporters club card. This is the weekend as a football fan.
But is it really? How can I be sure – and does it even matter – how I watch the matches? Does it really carry any weight if I flit from bar to bar on Saturday and Sunday?
What if Liverpool is playing City? Should I be at my ‘main’ bar or can I watch this match at home on the couch. Is there any rhyme or reason or is it all superstition?
Essentially, I am flummoxed by the unwritten SUPPORTER rules in this sport. As a guy who’s relatively new to football/soccer, you guys puzzle me.
I get the kit machinations. Can’t wash anything ever and you must wear everything you own and carry scarves from 1940 with you everywhere.
I get the song thing…THOUGH it’s a bit disturbing to discover after two years of full-on LFC supporting, that OTHER sides also sing the Firmino song and there are other chants and cheers that are eerily similar.
Ultimately, I get it. The sport matters. The experience matters. The chants and cheers and jeers and songs all matter. It’s a way of life if you ask any Liverpool fanatic.
Yet then we circle back to my original question of whether it matters where you watch the matches. Is there kharmatic energy conveyed if you’re shoulder to shoulder with other LFC fans? Am I Jeffrey Faux Pas by even commenting on watching the game at home on the couch.
If my cat soothes me while I watch the poetry on NBCSN as Mo and Sadio carve up the middle, is that so wrong? Do I need a Guinness or a Murphy’s or some English-specific brew in my hand as I cheer the boys?
And what about food? How can you eat when the match is in jeopardy? Is football just social…I thought it was more important than life and death!
We’re about half a page into my column and all I’ve done is ask questions. But they need answers. I want to know about the hump on every player’s back – does soccer cause osteopenia?
I want to know what they’re saying…and whether the hand over the mouth is because in Britain they have sub-par dental care and halitosis is big concern on the pitch.
I mean what’s going on?! These questions need to be asked and I discovered earlier today that I’m the guy to ask them. Not because I’m special. Not because I’m smarter than anyone else. No, I need to ask these questions because everyone behaves as if diving is a state secret and post-match interviews are scripted softball sessions.
I want some answers. In no particular order, here are the top 10 questions I’d like answered before the season gets serious. Yeah, we’ve had two international breaks so far, but you and I both know that nothing really gets critical until we wake up on January 7 and see where we are.
Please tell me…
Do any of the players and officials hang out together between matches/after matches?
Is there any drinking going on at the practice facility?
Are the youth and younger parent team players stored/housed in special facilities?
That hump on players’ back got me for ages. Now I just want to know why more than half the players are wearing a training bra.
Why wouldn’t all players work on throw-ins to the point that they can toss it across the pitch? Is it physically not possible? Wouldn’t it be a great strategy to throw to Virgil and have him head it in?
From what I hear – could be hearsay – you cannot be offside on a throw-in. Why wouldn’t all 9 other guys just storm the net on any throw close to the opposing net?
Are there special secret hand signals to alert medical staff whether they need to really hustle onto the pitch? 94% of the time, medical intervention is unnecessary and annoying to me. Your mileage may vary, but c’mon with the diving.
How comfy are the cleats players wear? They look so much like the slippers you wear for an MRI or other medical procedure. I’m sure they have some structure, but half the time the players have so much ball control it’s like they’re wearing grippy socks.
Why aren’t the striped uniforms mandatory?
At what point does the team ‘park the bus’? Asking because every time I see a team park the bus, they let up at least one goal and often end up with a draw or a loss. *Unless they’re up three or more.
What percentage of the stuff Jurgen Klopp yells to players really affects their play? Aren’t they already briefed on the strategy for the half?
How much of the technique of the EPL carries over to other leagues? i.e. Is the EPL the leader in technique or is it Italian or other leagues? Who has the best moves?
If you won Powerball a few weeks ago – when it was $685Million – would you have reached out and purchased Newcastle United? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
That’s it for my questions today. Please leave your comments AND ANSWERS in the comments below. See you next month!
**You will notice that this column, penned at 7:44PM, Oct. 16, 2021, mentions nothing of todays MASSIVE win. Oh, whoops. #YNWA Go REDS!!!