If you didn’t know this about me, I love sports. All sports. I love watching them, playing them, you name it and I’ll try it. In my family, if you don’t like sports, well, good luck! Just filled out my March Madness bracket the other day and like most, it’s already in the toilet.
I grew up a dancer (ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, hip hop, modern, you get the picture) but dabbled with sports in between. Had my time playing softball – not for me. I really liked baseball but once I was at a certain level I was asked to leave because I was a “liability”/they were afraid I was going to get hurt by the pitching machine. In high school I played golf, and still play whenever I can. When I lived in Arizona, being able to play golf had its bonuses as you can play all year long!
Baseball (Go Cubs!)
American Football (Go Pack Go!)
Hockey (Let’s Go Hawks!)
Now Football (or as we silly Americans call it, Soccer) is a sport I didn’t grow up with. Sure, I went to a few matches in high school and played it in gym class, but it isn’t as popular in the states as it is everywhere else in the world. So, living in the UK and trying to take in as much culture as possible, I experienced my first football match on 15th March 2014 – a Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Norwich.
We purchased out tickets through the University of Southampton and were seated in one of the corners. A little worried about these seats, I was happily proven wrong. The stadium holds a little over 30,000 people so there isn’t a bad seat in the house! We were early enough to grab a pie, cider and watch warm-ups.
With 20 minutes before the match, more than half the seats were emqpty. But, as I soon learned, the seats fill up about 5 minutes before the whistle blows. We contributed this to the fact that you can’t bring alcohols past the concession stands, so everyone drinks before finding their seats.
When the match stated, the atmosphere changed dramatically. It was a bit hard to understand the chants and cheers of the fans but there was one I did recognize – “When the Saints go Marching In”. Having gone to a Catholic school for part of my life, and our mascot being the I.C. Saints, this was a familiar tune. So, I joined in as best as I could.
Southampton beat Norwich that sunny Saturday, 4-2. Not bad for my first, but definitely not last, Football match!