This weekend I was lucky enough to watch some AFL where North Melbourne Kangaroos v Adelaide Crows in my hometown of Hobart. Not to brag or anything but North Melbourne thrashed a previously unbeaten Adelaide. There are many points from the game I could write about. I mean it was a very good day to be a North Melbourne supporter, so of course there were heaps! However one of my favourite things happened after the final whistle.
Whilst hanging around after the game to sing the team song I saw kids flock to the front of the stands in the hopes of catching some of their heroes. These were kids who wore their team colours with pride and enthusiasm. Most of them would know more about the team than I probably ever will. Here it didn’t matter what age they were, whether someone was a girl or boy, or if they were capable of actually kicking a ball in a straight line. All that mattered was that this was THEIR team.
It got me thinking about how important it is to support a team.
My earliest memory of anyone supporting a team is waking up early one morning in 1999 with my dad cheering SO LOUDLY because of some soccer game. At the time I had little idea what was going on because I was five, it was early and it wasn’t related to Pokémon. Later I would learn that this was a glorious morning where my team, Manchester United, had just won the European Cup to complete the treble, which rarely happens for an English club.
In case my dad’s early morning antics aren’t a strong enough indication of who I’ve grown up supporting, it’s Manchester United. I had no choice (they are the greatest men’s football team in the world after all). Ever since I can remember, and still to this day, whenever I see or hear someone follows my team suddenly they feel part of my world.
Just the other day as I was waiting for the elevator in my building, another resident was wearing a pair of thongs that had the Man United logo on them. Whilst I was too exhausted from football training to talk to anyone that night, I knew if we somehow got stuck in that elevator at least I would be with a fellow Man United supporter, and not one of those pesky Liverpool supporters.
I seriously believe there’s something special about supporting a club. Some may roll their eyes at how the amount of importance I place on supporting a sports team, I know my mum often does daily. But a large reason for starting this ranting blog is because I am passionate about how important it is to support a team and for there to be spaces and a community for myself and others to support their teams.
To steal a phrase from one of Amnesty International’s latest campaign, “Community is everything”. Supporting a team means you’re part of a community, where you’re joined by an army of supporters, all of them wanting the same thing as you. For your team to win.
So in case you haven’t already, it’s time to choose a team. Your community is waiting.
P.S. If you’re stuck for a team head to my NWSL Club Lowdown page and find a team there.
P.P.S “Community is everything” is a fantastic cause and something else to get behind so check it out at https://www.amnesty.org.au/about-community-is-everything-campaign/