Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Return of a Blog and Childhood Confessions


I started a really long blog post about hockey ages ago, and it got too big and too out of hand that I never finished it. So I stopped blogging.

And then I got yelled at for not blogging.

But I was still scared to touch my Epic Post (capitalization is necessary here, there were videos in it). So I ignored the requests.

And then Toronto played Vancouver.

So, welcome back to my blog! 

I’ll deal with hockey later.

Before I begin, I want to share with you my soccer background. The next part is from the above mentioned hockey post that I never published. I think it’s important that you people know where I am coming from (and, it’s already written). Keep in mind that this is a few months old (prize to the first person who can guess the date), but the point remains the same.

Here we go:

For those of you know me, follow me on Twitter, or read my blog, you know two things about me: 1. I am delightfully charming and 2. I don’t like hockey. Now, there are reasons why this is (err, that I don’t like hockey, my delightful charmingness is a gift from God). First, I like getting a rise out of people, and I can always count of a few to answer that call. Second, I didn’t grow up with hockey, so I have no cultural reference for it. And third, it’s stupid.

Rather, despite being Canadian (which, for some reason, seems to be equal hockey), soccer has always been a part of my life; just not in the conventional sense. Instead of growing up with soccer, I grew up on soccer. It was never an active part of my life, but rather an organic substance that was always around (kind of like church). My Sunday morning alarm clock was the Serie A trumpets and every 2 years my father would take the whole months of May/June off work. Just like eating cheese after every meal, I went with it; never once did it occur to me that other people did things different.

--- Di Natale just scored his 100th goal. In Udine.---

Now, I didn’t grow up playing, so the tactical side of things was lost on me as a kid. But, as long as I was quiet, and did not sit anywhere near the tv, I would often play with My Little Pony on Sunday mornings while my dad watched the Zebrette.

Because of this, I started to absorb things.

I could understand what was going on, even if I didn’t particularly care for it. I don’t mean this in any sort of romanticized sense, soccer was just always around and I just couldn’t avoid it. I remember thinking that the Udinese insignia was our family crest and black and white were our family colours (Erik, re: the pennant that dad has above his work shop in the basement).

It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized my family was different. The parents of my best friend growing up were from Buffalo, so whenever I was at her house, American throwball was discussed. The older I got, the more exposed I got to North American sports; there were other parents like my dad, but none of them like soccer. In my mind, it was like pop: everyone I knew drank pop at dinner, but I was just the only one who had it hand delivered in glass bottles every 2 weeks from a truck. 

However, despite these differences, I didn’t care. I had no idea why my dad went crazy every two years or why in July 1990 a funeral wreath was propped up in our lawn. None of this matter, I just accepted it without a second thought. In fact, I didn’t start actively liking soccer until high school. In grade 11, I spent a school holiday studying art in Italy (aka running amok and meeting boys), and I bought my first jersey: #7 MUFC (I am sorry Colin and Duane). I wore it around everywhere and no one knew what it was. The following year, I went to DE/CH/AU to study art again (less boys, more amok) and bought a Real shirt, number 23. Maybe 2 people back home recognized it. [Note: Before I hear anything, I was a 16 year old girl at the time, give me a break! Beckham was totally dreamy in the 2000s]. However, it wasn’t until Euro 2004 that I really started to care, and all because of a soccer-crazy poli sci teacher. Having been submerged in the world for so long, I knew players, teams, scores, and standings like I knew the Lord’s Prayer (able to repeat it to perfection, in different languages, but without having any idea of what it actually meant). His Englishliness took an interest in my Italianess and we continued a friendly banter. Like any good bullshitter, I paid attention to what I needed to know and repeated it like a parrot.

 But then, then I started to actively watch. It threw my father off, as I sat actively watching it with him. I learned what was actually happening and became engaged in what was going on. I didn’t just repeat things, I understood them, and more so, I enjoyed them.

Fast forward a few years, and I remained a semi-equal level of enjoyment. I watched actively instead of passively, and I could hold my own in a conversation. Enter Second Year University: the announcement of TFC as a team, the upcoming World Cup (Germany ’06), the introduction of new Rogers channels to television and the start of facebook—where I could talk to other people about soccer—exploded my interest. Soccer was easier to access than ever, and it began to become a more driving force. In third year, I wrote my first ever soccer essay; how soccer cured racism in France for a Modern France history course (it was a bit ambitious, and mostly about Babar). Since then, most of my academic work has been about soccer (easy when you’re doing a Masters in Popular Culture, not so easy when you’re doing a Masters in Library and Information Science). And since then, I could watch more games than ever on tv (instead of listening to them in Italian on the radio). And since then, I’ve had social media to encourage dialogue. And here we are today: Me, world famous blogger and tweeter about the beautiful game.

End of previous post.

So, modern day me is all about soccer. Not just the game, but the history, the spectacle, and the effect it has on the world. My original French-Racism-Babar-Soccer essay may seem a bit over zealous now, but for me, a lot of it still holds true. In fact, this is what the side of my bed looks like:

(Scott, if you’re reading this, I will return your books soon!)

So what does this have to do with my return to blogging and Canadian soccer? Check out the next post to find out!


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