I’ve drunk too much coffee. I do this every time. It’s forty-five minutes to kickoff and I’ve got nothing to do with my hands, and so I drink another cup. I’ve got nowhere to put my body. I am not at a bar. I am certainly not at the stadium. I’m not even with my friends. I am sitting, and now standing, and now pacing, and now sitting again, in my apartment. It is a half-hour to kickoff. I am chewing the inside of my cheek. Fifteen minutes. I wish someone would bring me a beer. They’re playing the national anthems. Time to shut the window, set the phone to silent. Someone, somehow, please grant me some other passion. This one is wearing me out. Quiet, please. I am a soccer fan.
It’s true that there are a thousand clubs out there, all over the world, in England and Spain and Mexico and Brazil. There’s even one just down I-95, in DC. My club isn’t even a club but rather our own national team. Anyway, it doesn’t matter which team, exactly, is mine. Only that I’ve caught the bug. Or that the bug caught me.
I came to it relatively late. As a kid, I played the game on teams with actual jerseys, with friends in yards with trees for goalposts, but I’d never watched soccer as any proper fan does. No American back then could. Maybe you watched if your parents had a satellite dish in the backyard but I didn’t know any parents like that and in any event we would only have watched the channels with the naked women.