The Game is About Glory

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4700 miles. That is roughly the distance that separates my home and White Hart Lane. I’ve never been to said stadium much less England. Yet for the next nine months, I will be fixated on the team that calls this stadium home. Celebrating each victory. Cursing each defeat. On Sunday, 18 August 2013, Tottenham Hotspur will kick off their 2013-14 Barclay’s Premier League Season, and somewhere along the way, somehow, I became a fan of Tottenham Hotspur.

How does someone become a fan of a team that exists 4700 miles away? I’m sure there are multiple ways. Only this morning, myself and fellow contributor TheWrench took in the opening of the Premier League at Finn McCool’s, a lovely little pub in New Orleans. The place was packed. Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton, West Ham, and more were all represented. And these people were passionate. I don’t know how they became fans of the respective clubs that they support, but I know how I became a fan of mine. It started innocently enough. Sometime in 2006, my brother and I were sharing an apartment. We both were born and bred to love soccer (the why and how of that I truthfully can’t explain). One morning he brought up the idea that we should pick a Premier League club and follow them, since we could catch most of the games on Fox Soccer. He had two teams, Newcastle (his beer of choice) and Fulham (they were in the midst of their reign as a destination for American players, a tendency that earned them the title of Fulhamerica). I didn’t know much of anything about the league as outside of International competition, I had never really followed a league. I was picking based on colors, logos, and names. My choices were cut down to Blackburn Rover, Aston Villa, and Tottenham Hotspur. What made me choose Tottenham, I couldn’t tell you but it would lead to an obsession that is hard to explain. But then maybe it isn’t so hard to explain if you have ever followed a sports team.

My picking this team didn’t immediately have me bleeding Lilywhite. The next couple of years, my fandom basically consisted of choosing Tottenham when playing FIFA on Xbox and casually checking the scores and standing. Meaningless bragging rights if they won, no skin off my back if they lost. Watch a game here and there. Football (the American version) took the bulk of my attention. Then came the 2010-11 season. Off the excitement of the 2010 World Cup, my passion for the beautiful game was at an all time high, which had me more interested than ever in keeping up with “my team.” Added bonus: Tottenham had qualified for Champions League.

Now I’m hooked. Spurs had no business going as far as they did in Champions League that year. Drawn into a group with defending champion Inter Milan. I’d be lying if I said that the coming of age of Gareth Bale against the champions of Europe (see the video above) wasn’t one of the things that pulled me in all the way. It was. but then everything I saw in the team pulled me in more and more. This was an exciting team to watch. “Swashbuckling” is the word often used to describe their style. I liked it

It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory

Bill Nicholson said the above quote years before I became a fan. Hell, years before I was born even. Still the more I read about the history of the club the more I loved it. This is a club that had seen it’s share of success. Tottenham were the first English team to win a European competition. The English team to complete a double. But that was a long time ago and it had been a while now since they had tasted success. Reading message boards and blogs (special mention to Cartilage Free Captain and Dear Mr. Levy), I came to feel at home with this fan base. COYS was a rallying cry I saw quite often (Come on, You Spurs). The team had the ability to achieve more, yet the supporters seemed to draw comfort in the fact that they would ultimately fail to live up to the hype. Being a New Orleans Saints fan, i connected with this. The coach at the time I began following in earnest, Harry Redknapp, well he was quotable to say the least. And he let his players play. “Fucking Run Around A Bit.” The club motto is Audere est Fecere – To Dare is To Do.  It is plastered all around the stadium, along with another phrase that sums up the club ethos: The Game is About Glory. Every new thing I learned about Tottenham made me love them even more.

To get to the point of all of this, Tottenham is set to kick off the new season tomorrow. They have a coach, in his second year with the team that he is methodically molding into his image. As lovable (or hate-able) ‘Arry was, and he was part of the reason I follow this team now, AVB is a tactician. And now, it seems, the player that put in the performances that drew me in to this club, who has become THE difference maker for Tottenham, could well be on his way to Spain and Real Madrid. Thing is with the additions made this summer, even without Gareth Bale, Spurs are a more complete team. More depth.

They kick off the season tomorrow at Crystal Palace, a newly promoted team. Should come away with a comfortable victory. But this is Spurs, and as I’ve learned from the past few years, indeed one of the things that made me to love this club, is that nothing is certain. But this is a new season, new(ish) team, and everything is wide open. Spurs have not been in Champions League since that one season, but not for a lack of trying. They’ve come oh so close, and I can’t see them doing anything but fighting for a spot again this year. Hell, let’s see them do more than that. Let’s see them set their sights high, so high that failure will have an echo of glory.

To Dare is to Do after all.

The Game is About Glory.

Come on You Fucking Spurs.

-ben

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