On First Loves – when those first loves are sports teams

How do you choose a sports team? Some simply find you. I’m a Detroit Tigers fan, even if I don’t follow baseball, and a Detroit Lions fan, because that’s where I grew up. I’m a Detroit Pistons fan when they’re relevant even if the sound of sneakers squeaking on the hardwood floors drives me mad, and I’m a Detroit Red Wings fan because I inherited that from my mom and my grandpa.

I’m a Nashville SC fan because the club (soccer – or football – teams are clubs if we’re being proper) started just as I was looking for one, and it was the first time Nashville truly felt like home. (Even if I don’t actually live in Nashville.)

But I’ve always wanted an English Premier League club, and during my first search I selected Arsenal. I could tell you that it was because Fever Pitch (the book and original movie version) was about the them. I could say that it was because I looked at all the clubs in the league at the time and decided, yes, that’s my club. But mostly my friend Jon chose Arsenal after looking at all the clubs, and I backed up my decision to follow him with Fever Pitch.

Then I learned Liverpool had a great tradition of singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and I regretted my decision to support Arsenal. Tottenham has a cockerel on their crest and it was better than the Arsenal cannon. Leicester City was promoted in 2014 and I chose them as my “recently promoted club” to cheer on from instant relegation, then in the 2015-16 season they were the champions. Football is weird.

Then as seagulls are my favorite bird, I started supporting Brighton & Hove Albion this past season, while also cheering on Liverpool because you’ll never walk alone and Tottenham because I liked the rooster.  Arsenal was a hard club to cheer on. Arsène Wenger may be a legend, but I became a fan long after the glory years. So in the back of my mind I always offered,  maybe when Wenger leaves, I’ll follow Arsenal again.

Wenger’s gone now, and I found myself inexplicably drawn back to a club I never knew I loved until I’d left them. So after considering this for a bit, I decided to forget all those clubs I’d been flirting with over the past few years and go back to my first love. Arsenal.

Is there any rhyme or reason to it? Not at all. That’s the beauty of love. It doesn’t always make sense nor does it have to.

Would Arsenal have me back?

Of course it will, it’s a football club.

How (Not) to Draft a Fantasy Soccer Team

Back in 2010 I was working at a bookstore and my coworkers decided to start a fantasy football league, which they immediately attempted to get me to join. I told them, no, I didn’t know anything about football, except that my team, the Detroit Lions, never did too well.

They were undeterred, and eventually I relented, drafting my team based on important qualities such as who they played for (the Lions ranked number one in this case) or their resemblence to giant teddy bears (Arian Foster) or having an amazing name (Legedu Naanee.)

I won the league.

Flash forward a few years, and I don’t expect to repeat that success playing fantasy MLS, but my goal is really to get into the United States’ version of professional soccer, which is difficult. Especially when compared to say, the Premier League of the Brits with its promotion and relegation that keeps the league fluid. But I’m going to give it a shot.

I chose my team a few years back, the Columbus Crew, because their colors are black and yellow and match my Hufflepuff scarf that my mom made me. I’ve never truly followed them, however, so I was pretty surprised last year when they made it to the finals in the playoffs. Didn’t win, but I’m not the type of supporter who gives up on a team for not winning championships. I’m the sort of supporter who just doesn’t pay attention.

Until this year.

Some friends created a fantasy MLS league, and in an attempt to learn more about the players and teams, I immediately began my research. This is my team. We’re decidedly average in points thus far, but who cares about points? There are more important characteristics to a fantasy soccer team.

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