My favorite baseball team are the New York Yankees. I was born to two Yankees' fans and was pretty much all going to end up as a die hard fan of theirs.
For those that don't know, the Yankees are the most successful team in baseball's history. In the near 24 years that I've been alive, I've been lucky enough to see them win the league five times. The key word in that sentences that separates me from most Yankee fans is I'm willing to admit that I'm "lucky". Yankee fans are a brash, arrogant and demanding type, while I'm perfectly content to watch them play knowing the joy they've already brought me in my life. And I think that's partly to due with my relationship with Aston Villa.
The first season I began really following Villa was 2008-09. It was the midst of the Martin O'Neill era and Villa looked like a club on the rise. In the time since, we've seen Villa slip down the table and nearly get relegated several times. But throughout all that, my love the club has only gotten stronger.
That may sound slightly masochistic, but it's true. It hasn't been fun watching Villa turn into a trash heap, but I have developed a feeling of "but they're my trash heap, dammit."
Waking up early every weekend and expecting Villa to lose doesn't sound fun. And most weekends, it isn't. But those dozen or so weekends that they do pull off wins are the some of the most cathartic moments of my year. Just the mere chance that Villa could walk away with the FA Cup on Saturday has me giddy.
Aston Villa have taught the sports fan in me to appreciate every success your teams have, no matter how big or small. And not just because the successes Villa have had recently have been small. Because they've made me realize how fun sports are when you're happy and having fun. I never want to be at a point where my team winning something doesn't mean that much to me. I want the joy that I felt after the semifinal win over Liverpool to be with me every time a team of mine does something major.
There is the very real possibility that Villa lose on Saturday. Arsenal are a good team and could very easily beat Villa without much fuss. That would feel extremely awful in the moment, but you know what, I would still be okay. The 2010 League Cup Final loss only helped in growing my love for this club, and I can't help but imagine a loss tomorrow would do the same. Plus, the run to the final, especially the pitch invasion and/or the semifinal, has given me some memories I'll always cherish
At this point in time, as a club, Aston Villa are a trash heap. But they're our trash heap.
Throughout the FA Cup final week, we're raising money for the Villa Rockets Powerchair Football club. With your help we can reach £5,000 and get them a new powerchair! Read about the club and our effort here, or simply click here to donate and help us reach our goal! And remember, if you donate any amount, you can enter to win a free Fabian Delph t-shirtfrom The Art of Football!