Thoughts on the Different Ways to Support Your Team
Every morning, the very first thing I do to start my day is also one of the most critical things any human being can do; I get online and read a selection of Arsenal related blogs. While there are many that I enjoy, the first on my list and the one for which I have the most reverence is Arseblog. I was especially looking forward to reading the Arseblog following the Roma match to get his take on the game and Arsenal’s qualification. What I read, gave me pause to reconsider my own blog entry and how different people choose to support their team.
My blog entry yesterday certainly celebrated Arsenal’s qualification for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but it also included its fair share of criticism for the team’s performance. I was surprised that Arseblog offered virtually no criticism whatsoever. Quite to the contrary, the venerable Arseblog was unabashedly supportive of the team and their accomplishment on the night. He chose to forgo analysis of the match in favor of simply congratulating the team and the travelling fans for a job done.
The Arsenal fans in Rome were truly fantastic (pun intended) and deserve the accolades. The team was far from spectacular but also deserve the glory and the congratulations for their mettle. But Arseblog seemed to suggest that it was akin to blasphemy to criticize the team after such an important achievement. And that got me thinking about the different ways that we all support our favorite teams.
I’ve noticed that the British media are remarkably results driven. If the team fail to get the necessary result, they are pilloried. Even a good performance will be cast as unacceptable if the result doesn’t go the team’s way. Conversely, a shocking performance is forgiven and forgotten and viewed through rose colored glasses if the result is positive. It’s much different in America. While everyone loves a winner, we also love to dissect our teams ad noseum. We break down every aspect of the performance until the next game comes along. Whether we win or lose, we examine our team and see every angle. For me, that’s part of the pleasure. Part of the joy of being a fan is getting into the minute details of every game. I may not have the sophistication to always understand everything that happens on the pitch, but genuinely enjoy looking at every little piece of Arsenal’s games.
Last night the Arsenal made an important step towards silverware. It was also an important step financially and we mustn’t forget that. But we didn’t really accomplish anything. The goal is to WIN the Champions League. That’s what we’re playing for. If we are a top team then we should expect quarterfinal qualification. I have a feeling that if we had been eliminated, then Arsenal supporters everywhere would be up in arms today. The performance got us through to the quarterfinals, but I do believe that it deserves dissection and critique.
Again, I could not be happier for our team. I could not be more proud of our young players for showing their strength of character. And I am so excited for another round of Champions League participation. Let’s just hope that the team understand that their performance last night won’t be good enough the next time.
After Tonetto’s penalty blazed over the bar, I ran around the room, hugged my wife, hugged the pets and fell to the floor in glee. When I sat down to right my blog entry, after the excstasy had faded, there were questions to be asked. I felt it was only fair to examine the match beyond simply celebrating our qualification.
While we all celebrate and support our team differently, it certainly doesn’t make us any more or any less of a fan.