Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Face of Football(ers)

Blogging access has been denied me at work now. I don’t know if I can live any longer.

I am currently typing up this post in Word. I will have to email it to myself and post it from home. Gah.

The most amazing thing happened to me this morning on the train. I awoke from my morning slumber as the train slowed to a stop at Glasgow Central. I looked up and saw a face I recognised. He at the same time saw me with a look of curious recognition. I got off the train, walking somewhat beside him. He continued to chat to his friend, I continued to stifle yawns. As we parted ways, we both simultaneously looked back at each other, as if to double check that we really did recognise one another, but did not say or do anything.

Why is this amazing, you may wonder? Because it is the first time since I moved here that I have seen and recognised someone from my past. I haven’t had that experience yet. So far, every face has been new, every face has been unfamiliar. But today, a face was old, familiar. Those of you who have never moved to an entirely different place where you know absolutely no one may find it difficult to understand the feeling I experienced this morning, but perhaps those of you who have been where I am will understand. The warmth in my heart of seeing someone I recognised from another time prior to this time was terrific.

The guy I saw was no one particularly special. In any other circumstance, I would’ve acted the same, doing the whole looking-to-see-if-it-was-really-the-guy-I-thought-it-was, but I wouldn’t have paid any mind to it beyond that. But today, I felt at home. I felt like a normal person who saw people she knew, like in Cabot when you go to Wal-Mart and you inevitably see someone you went to high school with. I was sad when I moved here that I’d never experience that again. But already, only a year later, it’s starting to happen for me.

(Now I say this guy is no one particularly special, but in a way, that is false. He is actually a footballer who I used to see nearly every day when I worked in the coffee shop – who always ordered a medium latte with semi-skim milk – who has played for Chelsea and several other Pro England teams. In that way, he is someone quite special! Famous, even!)

Speaking of football (perfect segue) last night I attended my first Rangers game! The ‘Gers are mine and Scott’s team, though I’ve never actually watched a game, neither live nor on TV (or even heard one on the radio). But Jamie, at work, who is an avid Rangers supporter, had two extra tickets to the cup game last night against Clyde and he invited me and Scott. Well, after an afternoon full of bad luck and disaster, Scott was unable to get into Glasgow for the game and I was unable to go home to miss the game with him, so I ended up going with Jamie by myself, which I thought would be really awkward but turned out just fine. I felt like a right prissy prissy Princess showing up at a football game in my work skirt and dress top, Scott not being able to bring my change of clothes, but luckily I was at least able to purchase a pair of flat shoes at the train station for a 10’er to replace the heels I was wearing so I didn’t look like a complete priss (imagine going to the football in high heels!). And I know most of the rules of football (by the way, this is football as in soccer, for you Americans who aren’t thinking like a European) so I didn’t have to ask every three minutes, “What just happened? Why are we cheering? What team are we again? Which net-thing are we trying to kick the ball into? Was that us who just scored??”, which would’ve been probably what everyone around us was expecting me to do. But instead I watched intently, and I understood every play, except the off-sides rule, which I still don’t get. Oh, and I didn’t notice the time clock so at half-time when everyone jumped up and started cheering, I really was confused because I didn’t see anything on the pitch actually happen worth cheering for. It wasn’t until the players all filed off the pitch that I realised why we were cheering. But that’s all just football-virginity innocence, and I ain’t no football virgin no more!

Oh, I also felt like a football virgin when we came up to the stadium and I had Jamie’s friend’s season pass in my hand and the security guy asked to look in my bag but I didn’t know what he was saying so I showed him the card (which has no photo or anything on it, I’m so dumb) and he just looked at me like I was an idiot and repeated that he needed to see my bag. “Oh right, to make sure there’s no drink in it.” I said. “No, to make sure there are no guns.” “Ah, haha… Right. No, no guns, just a pair of shoes.” Gah, I’m an idiot. Where do I think I am, Cabot, Arkansas, watching the CHS Panthers beat Fort Smith?

At any rate, I loved it! The action, the crowd, the excitement, the whole atmosphere was brilliant! And it helps that I understand the game. I knew when to cheer and when to throw my hands up in the air and yell, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” The game got really intense in the second half when we were 1-1 with Clyde, then it got more so when Clyde scored another goal. Glaswegians are amazing. Some of the things they were shouting were straight out of a movie! It was brilliant, foul-mouthed, smoke-filled fun. I wanted to get in on the shouting, too, but I felt so patently American that I was a bit reserved. But once the heat was really on, I found myself shouting things like “C’mon! C’mon, boys!” (A few times I nearly shouted, “Atta boy!” but then I’d remember this wasn’t baseball, nor Arkansas.) Granted, the rest of the crowd was shouting Scottish Ranger-y things like “Mon, Gers!”, “Mon, Bears!” “Ya f***ing lazy b*stards!” and the like, but I couldn’t really get into that. At any rate, it was great fun, and basically, I’m addicted to football.

We won, 5-2, gaining 3 goals in overtime. I love the football.

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