Sunday, August 12, 2007

Crazy about "football"... or just crazy?

*** By CN (Chicago) ***
Ah, the excitement of the upcoming season. Yes, it's footie time my friends. No, I'm not talking the Bears. In fact, I'm not even talking the NFL. I'm talking real football, I'm talking the Premier League.

What's that you ask? It's top-flight English football. The passion of the game is unlike anything that we see in the U.S. Here, a "big fan" is one who can name most of the starting line-up and has a satin jacket emblazoned with the team logo. In the U.K., it's an altogether different story. Fans there are truly die-hard. Many fans travel to away games, even those that are played mid-week. And some of the big tournaments require international travel. No problem… being a supporter means a willingness to use a passport.

Games are attended by throngs of supporters who sing throughout the entire match. My favorite club is Arsenal, which is based in North London. Each player has his own chant that is sung when he makes a good play. My personal favorite is for Arsenal's young midfielder Cesc Fabregas (sung to the tune of Salt n Pepa's ‘Let's Talk About Sex’). “Let's talk about Cesc, Baby… let’s talk about Flam-in-i, let's talk about Theo Walcott, Freddie Ljungberg and Henry… let's talk about Cesc. Well (Freddie) Ljungberg and (Thierry) Henry were both sold this summer (I find that brilliant too – players don't get traded, they get sold for cold hard cash. In Henry's case, Arsenal netted $32 million), so the song will have to be re-configured, but it's kinda catchy all the same.

Now, you're probably asking, "What does this have to do with a kid from Chicago?" (OK you're probably really asking, "Why am I reading a blog supposedly written by Bobbe' when, in fact, this is just an entry by a friend of hers I don't know.) Today Arsenal opened their season against another London team, Fulham (most notable because they are owned by Mohammed Al-Fayed, Dodi's dad). I was joined by three friends, one an Arsenal supporter for over 60 years. I will be pulled out of bed way too early – my friends should arrive about 10 minutes to 6:00 (just to be clear, that's 5:50 am and on a Sunday). And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. Come on you Gunners!

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