As I was reading John Jackson's article "The Cliffhanger Club..." I started thinking back on when I began to follow the West Ham United Football Club.
I got a little nostalgic and may have teared-up just a little (not really, but it sounds better than 'stared off into space'), and thought I think I would also like to share how I came to be a lifelong fan of the Hammers.
In late August of 1984, as I was just about to turn 10, I went to spend the summer with my dad. At the time he was working in London for Magcobar Dresser, so I was given the chance to hop over the pond and spent three weeks in jolly ol' England.
I was not really sure what to expect. My only exposure to the British was from what I had seen in Mary Poppins.
My Step-Mum took me all over the city to see all of the typical tourist things and some more off-beat areas that were more of local hangouts. One of the days as we were walking somewhere else that I had no idea how we got there or how to get back and we passed by a sports shop and there was the Claret and Blue hanging in the window, for some reason that kit really had me intrigued.
I asked her about it and she told me that it was the West Ham United uniform. I had to know more and she knew just the place, she too was a West Ham supporter. We went to a pub that I can't even begin to remember the name of, but it was a "Hammers Pub". There was a large spread of ages in there, from varied backgrounds, but most of them had one thing in common—WHUFC.
We stayed there for a couple of hours as some of the old men that were in there talked about some of the great matches of the past and debated on who the best player of all time was.
I couldn't believe that people got so engrossed in this game. I mean I had played all my life up to that point and loved every minute of it, but I had never seen a team followed this thoroughly. It was that passion that hooked me into this particular club, and I know that all of the clubs have fans just like that, it just happens that this was my first exposure and that is who I have clung to.
I still have not been able to return to London to get to a match in person, but I will one day, and hopefully I can take my kids so that I can pass on my admiration of this club to the next generation of American fans.
Until the MLS has that type of atmosphere I will have to keep up with my club online and on the occasional highlight on the Sky report.
Sorry for babbling on about all of this, but I just needed to run down memory lane for a minute.