Live Far Away From Your Beloved Team? Stop Complaining.

Welcome to 7500, where it's the all Miňo all the time show--until Kirsten finds another obsession, at least. Miroslav Stoch playing for Fenerbahçe. (Photo by Bulent Kilic/EuroFootball/Getty Images)


I had to walk five miles uphill both ways in the snow with no shoes...so what are you whining about? Oh that's right--lack of footy on the television, feeds that cut out or are taken down by the internet police, waking up at 4am, getting results spoiled when you attempt to wait for a replay. Yeah, being football fans in America is tough at time. Even trying to watch our domestic league is difficult, considering how few matches get national airtime. But for the most part, footy fans can keep up with their teams even if they're half a world away. Turns out life wasn't always so peachy...

After writing about my new love for Fenerbahçe yesterday (in which not one person corrected me about confusing Russia and Ireland, proving that no one pays attention to Slovakia) a Fenerbahçe supporter sent me an email in which he described what it used to be like supporting a team across a giant ocean:

At the beginning, I was following the games thru IRC, where someone was writing what was happening. It was a total nightmare since sometimes they would not write anything, or they would just log off without saying anything and we would wait for someone else to pick up the responsibility I almost got kicked out of my university's library when I yelled my lungs out in the middle of the library when Bolic scored the goal that allowed us to beat Manchester United and demolish their years of unbeaten home record. 

There were some video stores that we can go and get the tapes of the games a few days after they were played. We knew the score, but still it was fun to watch them. 

There were times that when an important game was on, a call to home would happen every few minutes to figure out what was happening, or would listen to list 10-15 minutes over the phone which basically ended up with an unbelievably high phone bill.

Later, we started following it thru the online radios, listening to it every chance we got. 

Towards the last couple of my years in US, we were lucky that some Turkish restaurants have found ways to broadcast the games. My friends and I would wake up on Saturday or Sunday mornings and rush to Dervish Restaurant in NYC to watch the game as we eat with a lot of other Fenerbahce fans who would just show up,  rolled out of bed, only for the game.

Many in the US complain about the fact that supporters ignore the domestic league to focus on European leagues. Maybe they'd like to see us go back to the days in which far-off supporters would have to make phone calls and rely on chat to discover what is going on in other countries, because that would force people to watch their local leagues.

I'd argue that rather than taking focus away from a domestic league, the opportunity to watch more and more soccer actually increases the possibility that people pay attention to local teams. The more people watch, the more they find connections. You never know when watching Napoli will lead you to a Turkish club--and you never know when interest in a World Cup squad leads you to the Sounders because you've heard of their designated player.

Soccer creates trails of connections as you follow the players around--and it creates odd connections between people, as well. I certainly never imagined I'd receive a bunch of emails from Turkish supporters. I never conceived that I'd be hoping trains to tiny towns I'd never heard about because a soccer buddy wanted me to see lower-league football. Finding more and more soccer shouldn't be a threat to anything: to your main club's supporters, to your fellow countrypeople, to your newest club. Excitement only builds--trust me.

(And no, I don't have a problem, just because I was watching the replay of Slovakia-Ireland this morning while eating breakfast and reading about Champions League. It's called enthusiasm, people. At least, that's what I tell myself).

Have you found any new teams recently? Do you want to search for new clubs to watch? Or are you good with just one or two?
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