I've Decided That I Like Football (Kinda).
From knowing nothing to cheering with the best of em!
I have never understood football.
I know this won't make sense to a lot of you, but for me it was always like watching paint dry. Painful ... and boring.
But, then I matched with a guy on Hinge who tried to explain to me the ins and outs and suddenly I was sitting on a couch in the front room of my friends house, drinking cocktails and watching an England Euros Game.
That's what changed it for me, because I realised that for a lot of people, this game isn't just men kicking a ball around ... but it's seemingly a lifestyle ... something they live and breathe. Something they get enjoyment from watching. It wasn't until I saw the glee on my friends faces, their features lighting up with joy when England scored their first goal, did I start to understand the excitement.
It felt like a weird adrenaline rush, hands tightly holding onto my Strawberry Daiquiri (because why the fuck not?), shouting at Sterling when he was "all over the gaff" (acting like I was the commentator and ref all mixed into one small girl sitting on a cramped couch of a student home).
It felt like I was apart of a community when I was in the pub, this time a gin and lemonade swirling around in my glass, as I tried not to drop it when England scored a goal. Or when I was at my Grandparents bowled over by the fact that Italy had managed to score two goals in extra time. How?!
It felt nice to be able to communicate with strangers my excitement for something I still had little to no knowledge on. Throwing out lingo I had overheard my friends or my Granddad say, to people in an old mans pub, pulling up a seat to sit next to them, as we chatted about the game and what we thought would happen in the next one.
Seeing the people of South East London explode when England made it into the final, playing football on the streets, shouting and squeals of excitement heard, people in the shops of Peckham coming out to give everyone hugs and high fives. A man with some buckets, playing the drums, as everyone lit up with excitement at the possibility of: we might just win this.
Then when the said Final aired, a couple of days after I got my first vaccine, where I had been stationed between my couch and my bed, this time I was sitting on my couch, holding my flat mates hand and hiding behind pillows while watching. Laughing, because our game was slightly delayed, the windows open, hearing everyone in our neighbourhood cheer or boo, or even worst scream when something happened (which actually worked out okay for my anxiety, because at least I had some clues as to what was going to happen).
Absolutely gobsmacked, when we scored a goal within the first five minutes of a game, tugging on my friends t shirt sleeves "did that really just happen?" "yeah, meg, i think it did!"
The calls I would make to my Mother at half time, or the quick texts we would send each other, catching up on how we were feeling, all of the predictions about scores. Then hopping on to Facetime after the game, to give our final verdict, before hanging up and doing the same all over again at the next game.
Learning all of the football chants, (in actual fact, I googled "football songs i need to know uk euro 2020" quickly clicking on the first link and then going on Spotify to look through all of the football playlists) as I would hum along with my friends, laughing as they would jump up and down in the pub, screaming the lyrics.
Me and my best friend, in the toilets when we scored a goal, coming back out, to our friends wrapping their arms around us, jumping up and down in excitement!
It felt like a time where all of us, new and old to the football scene, got involved and supported one another, lifted each other up and consoled each other when it got all that little bit too intense.
Like I said, I've never been much of a football fan, but I think I'll dip my toes into the possibility of watching games a bit more than before now.
Bring on the World Cup (that's it, right?).