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Senior Column: It’s football, not soccer

I’m legitimately beginning to think that I’m a British boy trapped in an American’s body.

Well, that may be a bit of a stretch, but one thing that’s for certain is that I love British football (soccer as you Americans call it). And when I say I love it, I mean it.

I love everything about football in England. I avidly follow the English Premier League. I wake up early in the morning on weekends to watch as many games as I can. The walls in my bedroom are lined with football memorabilia. My most prized possession is the Tottenham Hotspur (my favorite club) flag that sits above my bed. Something about the sport speaks to me.

I can name all 20 teams in the Premier league right now, as well as their managers, stadiums, and current spot in the standings. I can explain to you how the promotion/relegation system works throughout all four leagues, and how the EFL cup is the most meaningless trophy in all of sports. I could go on forever about how N’Golo Kante is the best player in the league and don’t even get me started on how Mauricio Pochettino managerial swap from Southampton to Tottenham is the greatest thing to ever happen to North London. Disagree with me? I’m happy to debate, I have the stats to back it up. I can also define the many football terms so if you want to know what a “Derby,” “Brace,” or “Skipper,” is, I have you covered.

Perhaps the most peculiar part about my obsession with soccer is that I have absolutely no idea where it comes from. I have no answer as to why I know all of this random crap about English football. I can’t look back to one specific moment when I fell in love with the sport or one aspect of the game that drew me to it. I love it wholeheartedly, but I’m not quite sure why.

I am at a loss for words when I try to explain my intense passion for the sport to other people. After all, how many 17 year olds wake up at 6:30 am on Saturday mornings to watch 22 foreign men kick run around on a plot of grass for 90 minutes? I have so many questions regarding my love for the sport. Why did I choose the Tottenham Hotspur of North London to be the club with my unwavering support? Why am I filled with pride (and sometimes cry tears of joy) when a group of 11 men I have never met win a match? Why do I get so sad when this same group of 11 men lose? I can’t articulate my passion, but who cares?

I hope everyone is lucky enough to have some sort of passion that brings them as much happiness as English football brings me. You don’t need to be able to explain why you like it. Simply having something to turn to as a reliable source of joy can go a long way in managing the stresses and burdens of our everyday lives. All that matters is that it gives you some level of comfort.

Having a strong connection to British football carries no greater significance, and possessing all this random information is meaningless except for the happiness it brings.

At this point, all I can be sure of is that watching the team of 11 men that I have arbitrarily chosen to support kick the ball into the back of a net brings me joy. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. That’s what a passion is all about: happiness.

Originally published in the May 2017 issue

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