Cory: The Connection
Like many Americans, I'm a recent convert to Premier League fandom. For most of my life, soccer wasn't even on the radar when it came to following sports. I grew up cheering for the Cubs, Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks. The only exposure that I had to soccer was through the occasional World Cup match on TV or playing an old FIFA game with my cousins, but it was never a sport that grabbed me.
In college, my friends and I would regularly mock the sport on our weekly sports talk show on the campus radio station. This was mostly born out of ignorance to the nuances of the game and the stereotype of a 90 minute game that ends in a 0-0 draw. Coming from years of following the NHL in the days when a game could go 70-80 minutes and end in a 0-0 tie, the irony of this sort of mocking was lost on me until a few years ago.
My first real experience with Spurs was on March 8, 2014. My brother had chosen Spurs as his Premier League team and invited me to join him at The Atlantic to watch the match against Chelsea. He told me a bit about the team, how they had similarities to the Cubs in that both teams hadn't won much of note in a long time and that like the Cubs, Spurs have a deep and rich history.
The match started out well. The bar was packed and people were singing. Even after Chelsea went up 2-0, the atmosphere was amazing. The match ended 4-0, but it was enough to set the hook. I started looking at the history of the club and getting familiar with the players. The more I read, the more I felt that Spurs were the club for me.
Two years later, I never miss a match unless it's completely unavoidable. It's really difficult to explain how, as someone who has never been to London let alone White Hart Lane, I feel such a strong connection to the club. I've only seen the team play in person one time, versus the MLS All-Star team in Denver last summer. Why Spurs? It could have been just as easy to pick any other club with a decent enough following that I could find a bar to watch with other fans. The answer? It comes down to the connection with my other favorite teams.
Maybe I'm just a glutton for disappointment since my two favorite American teams, the Cubs and Blackhawks, had the longest and fourth longest championship droughts in their respective league's history. Both had come close to breaking through in my lifetime before having hope utterly crushed. There's a resolve that comes with enduring that kind of heartbreak that many other teams never experience. The other reason is that the current Spurs squad is just so damn easy to love. They're a young group that are being built with a single goal in mind. The club isn't going out and buying stars, they grooming the youth into the stars that other teams will be jealous of.
So why am I a fan? Because it's Spurs.