This seems like a relevant subject. Last July I got to see the team I have passionately rooted for since 2008 in person for the first time. It might've been a pre-season friendly in a crappy stadium (San Diego build a new stadium already), but it's a memory I'll cherish forever. Tomorrow, that team is playing in the Champions League final. I'm trying to act like I've been here before, but I really haven't.
Tottenham Hotspur have let me down time after time - the words bottling, choking, and Spursy come to mind. Imagine rooting for a team that blows it so much their own team name is synonymous with squandering opportunities. But the 11 years of letdown (I am so so sorry for lifelong Spurs fans, you make 11 years feel short) suddenly feels like nothing. Tomorrow is the most excited I have ever been for a professional sporting event in my life.
I played soccer as a young kid but never really supported a pro team other than USA. In middle school I got my first XBOX and was gifted FIFA 09 as my first game. My hipster-douchebag self didn't want to play with one of the best English teams (flashback, anyone remember trying to get out of school to watch the final between Man U and Chelsea? No way my mom was letting me watch lol), so I randomly picked Tottenham. Why? No idea - I wish I could tell you why. But when I watched the Premier League, I would recognize all the Spurs players and it gave me an extra interest. That was all it took for the commitment and passion. Years later, I've grown to love the players as social media has allowed us to become close to players unlike previous generations ever have been able to do. Social media made it easy for an American to follow this amazing team - I will forever be grateful for that.
The past 4 seasons have been different - they've gone from above average at best to erratically spectacular. On their day, they can beat anyone in the world. The past two seasons alone, they have wins against Real Madrid, Manchester City, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea (away for the first time in 29 years), and to put it bluntly we made Arsenal our little brother (Sorry Kevin <3). Tottenham also lost 19 games in all competitions this season. That's 19 occasions of frustration - bottling games left and right. Like the constant frustration of my past 11 years, our roller coaster season is all worth it to be playing tomorrow.
If Spurs lose tomorrow it'll suck. There's no denying that. But I do know time heals all, and I know that this Champions League run is just the beginning. Who wouldn't want to join the best team in Europe's biggest football city coming off a Champions League finals appearance, never mind a playing in brand new pioneering stadium?
If we win, honestly I'm not sure. I've tried to put myself in the situation, but I honestly can't. I consider myself a very loyal fan but my it's all in perspective - there are fans that travel all over the world to watch this team. Fans have been watching this team for 70 years to witness such little worldwide success. I also have friends that don't support with the same amount of regularity, but that's okay - we're all in this together.
So many people in the Tottenham community have made such a positive impact on my life. I got my phone taken in high school Spanish class for following the score of a game with Trent. I've woken up early to watch games with Brian at the Harp, and I got to experience my first two games in person with some of my closest friends. I met a lifelong fan from England in the airport and we've been friends since. As recently as a few weeks ago, I met a fan at a music festival and we are going to hang out at another show next month - again talking consistently with him leading up to the final. In fact, you can see the #10 on the back of his Kane jersey talking to me on a picture of an artist's performance (zoom in right above his head). Whether you're a close friend, public figure, media, or run a fan page, thanks for being with me every step of the way. You've genuinely made me a happier person.
Come on you Spurs.
Author: Living in Southern California, Robert Sweeney has been a fan of soccer since he played as a young child. Since then, he’s become a diehard Tottenham and US National Team fan. Rob enjoys writing about the impact soccer has had on his life in hopes that it betters others as well. Twitter: @robsweeney11