I Am Not Alone
Yesterday, for the first time ever, I celebrated (what felt like) a Sunderland victory with another, living, breathing Sunderland supporter! Thanks to the wonders of the Internet (and another supporter site which shall, in the interests of the powers-that-be at Vital Football, remain nameless), I was able to link up with another Yank who is as rabid about the Lads as I, and watch them take on the Gooners at my "local".
Those of you who have read my intermittent column from this side of the pond will know that this is about as rare as a Sunderland away win. I`m usually alone in the pub, in the back, keeping a relatively low profile in an effort to avoid being teased for my loyalties. But not this time. No, this time I was in the back with another bona fide Sunderland supporter - and not just any Sunderland supporter! Nay! A Sunderland supporter who has actually been over there…wait for it… six fucking times.
Now let`s talk for a moment about my jealousy. I am not proud of my jealousy, especially where this team is concerned. I`m happy for the lad and, to be fair, he`s got a leg up on me having family working for a commercial airline. And I`m happy that he`s had very positive experiences over there (speaks highly of the locals, mind!)
But I have to admit, it`s tough to take. I mean, six times??? SIX??? That`s just not fair. I mean, I`d love to come over, but I`ve got a mortgage and a couple kids. I have enough trouble justifying the purchase of the new kit to my wife, much less airfare and accommodations to Sunderland, plus tickets, beer, and pies.
So I had to work a little at first to shove my jealousy in the corner with a sausage roll and a pint and get to know this guy. Fortunately, I can say he was, as you lot might say, a top bloke. So were his friends he brought along (one of whom we may have brought into the fold when he, himself a Texan, found out about Mr. Short.)
Jealousy firmly quashed and inebriated, we settled in for the match. I don`t know if any of us were really paying much attention, honestly, when we went down a goal to nil. It was a stupid bit of defending from Ferdy and credit to him for getting his head back into the match after that bit of comedy. Actually, credit to the whole team for basically outplaying the Arsenal for the whole game. Thanks also to Tomas Rosicky for joining Carlos Tevez on the "Misses of the Season" reel. Special mention to Titus Bramble, who has defied his critics and basically played to perfection so far this season. And Darren Bent? Fucking. Get. In.
Finally, thanks to my fellow LA-based Sunderland Supporter, without whom I`d have been bouncing around like an idiot all by myself -- like always. It`s quite another thing to have someone to share the match with - someone who cares about the team as much as you. On some small scale today, I really got a sense of what being over there on game day is like.