Serendipity: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought forMerriam-Webster dictionary
My history with Football
Once upon a time, I decided to jump into the world of “soccer” (or football, as it’s supposedly called) when my foot-eye coordination decided to make its grand entrance. Ah, those were the days of pure bliss, before the rise of fierce soccer moms and those sacred Saturdays dedicated to the pitch. You see, back then, the mere thought of girls playing sports gave folks quite the brain boggle. But fear not, for I, the ultimate tomboy queen, fearlessly raced alongside the town’s most athletic lads, grinning from ear to ear.
Fast forward a whole decade. I waved farewell to soccer, not by choice but due to the limitations of my small town. But let it be known that my affection for the game never wavered. Thanks to the likes of Mia Hamm and Brandy Chastain, who rocked the world of male-oriented sports, us girls learned that we too can compete and excel in any arena we choose. Volleyball became my new jam, but soccer will always hold a special place in my heart. Game on, ladies!
Soccer, oh soccer! It was my initial sports crush, but definitely not my last. Among the many escapades on my “Things to do” list in England, attending a Football Match was at the top. And not just any match – a thrilling EPL extravaganza! However, the cruel reality dawned upon me, like the predictable British weather: summer was the off-season, which meant my dream might just have to sit on the sidelines for now. Oh, the agony!
But I kept my hopes up.
A couple weeks fly by and I find myself chilling with my new pals at the PUB. We’re tossing darts around like we were pros when suddenly, a buddy of one of my newfound friend shows up. And guess what? He drops the bombshell that he’s got two tickets for Manchester’s epic opening match against Everton. Well, you can imagine the excitement that swirled inside me. My ears perked up and my head did a full 360 like those bizarrely flexible dolls. I put on my best “I’m hopeful” face, which probably resembled a puppy begging for a treat. Lo and behold, my unspoken pleas worked their magic. My new amigo told his friend that he couldn’t make it, but kindly suggested that I’d absolutely adore tagging along.
The friend seemed dubious at first because, let’s face it, I was an American. An American who called “football” by a different name. I could tell the ticket holder wasn’t as smitten with me as my friend was. In hindsight, I realize my pal probably had a bit of a crush on me and was too shy or polite to admit it. In hindsight, maybe I should have just let nature take its course. Who knows how different my life might have turned out? But hey, after a few more rounds of drinks and a high-stakes game of darts (which I totally did not win), I somehow managed to prove myself. And so, with my alcohol-holding abilities on full display, I scored an invitation to join the ticket-holder on a thrilling trip to Manchester for the match. Cheers!
Manchester. And United
When the long-awaited day finally arrived, I was bouncing off the walls like a hyperactive kid before Christmas morning. My excitement was through the roof, resulting in a severe case of insomnia. I reached Manchester in the ungodly hours of the day, completely disregarding the concept of being fashionably late for the evening match. Determined to squeeze every ounce of thrill out of this experience, I aimlessly roamed the city streets, snapping countless photos like a photography maniac. Oh, and did I mention that I also went on a tour of the stadium? Yes, I got to explore the magnificent arena before it turned into a chaotic fiesta with rowdy fans—of which I was proudly one!
Early afternoon, I finally rendezvoused with the ticket holder and a bunch of his pals. We marched our way to the energetic heartbeat of any English sporting event—the beloved pub! There, I took it upon myself to enlighten my newfound friends about the wacky American tradition of tailgating before a football game. I must admit, trying to explain it felt like describing a distant planet with peculiar customs. But hey, it’s all part of the cultural exchange, right?
With great zeal, I embraced the local customs and transformed into a fully-styled supporter, donning the iconic home kit. And then, oh boy, our merry gang of absolute goofballs merged with thousands of other gangs of goofballs, flooding the legendary Old Trafford stadium a whole hour before the first whistle blew. Needless to say, I threw caution (and my wallet) to the wind that night. I splurged on way too much merchandise, guzzled an excessive amount of ale like it was my liquid destiny, and devoured pub food as if it were my last meal on Earth. It was an escapade that will forever be etched in my memory, leaving me with tales to regale for years to come.
Sometimes, it’s wiser to join the tour and make your moves behind the lens instead of trying to capture a decent shot amidst a bustling stadium. Unless, of course, you’re one of the chosen few with front row seats—which, alas, I was not. But hey, who needs front row seats when you can strategically position yourself next to the popcorn stand, right?
Oh, I also had the pleasure of witnessing the marvel that is young Beckham showcasing his extraordinary skills on the field. It was a spectacle of epic proportions, where the world seemed to stand still in awe of his talent. The way he effortlessly maneuvered the ball with grace and finesse was nothing short of mesmerizing. I couldn’t help but be amazed young chap whose name will surely be etched in the annals of football history.
*We* the supporters of Manchester United, far and wide, are the champions. Thanks to Queen for writing and recording one of the greatest sports anthems of all time.