Posted by: kcgadiyar | June 13, 2009

The evolution of a fan

Alternate title for this post: How i stopped worrying and started supporting Brazil, Barcelona and Ferrari.

When Barcelona faced off against Manchester United in the Champions League final a few weeks ago, i stayed awake till the end of the presentation ceremony and went to sleep happy because Puyol was the one lifting the trophy that night.

Barcelona

The next day i showed up at work, and for some time the only discussion between me and a few co-workers was regarding the match the previous night. Similar things have been done by me: When Ferrari win a race, i sit and watch the complete coverage, till the post race press conference, i dont do that when other teams win, when Spain won the Euro (ok, i would have stayed and watched the whole thing even if Germany had won), when Brazil and Italy won the World Cups. But the question i have been asked by some friends has been “Why? Why do you support Barca, why do you support Brazil, why Ferrari?” and so on.
This led me to think about it, Why am i a fan of these teams? After some thinking, the answer came to me: Its all about first impressions.

My earliest memory of watching football is of Romario towering over the Swedish defenders to score Brazil’s winning goal in the semifinals of USA ’94. I dont remember the specifics of that match, as it took place way early in the morning, but this moment just sticks out, the height that Romario got, the hangtime and the ease with which the goal was headed in (I recently saw the official FIFA USA 94 film and the goal is still as good as i remember it)

For those interested, the goalis at 2:40 of the clip below, see the height Romario gets over the taller defenders (similar to Messi and Ferdinand this year)

A few days later, my dad informed me that Brazil had won the World Cup, and that it was a record or something, and i was hooked. In 1995 Cable TV made its entry into Mangalore, and brought with it live sporting action (although it was US centric sports for quite some time). This was when i was able to properly follow football, through mainly CNN World Sport, and being a Brazil supporter, i wanted to know about the players in Brazil. This was just prior to Ronaldo and Rivaldo making their marks internationally. By the time France 98 had rolled around, i remember one more footballing memory joining Romario’s goal; that being of Roberto Carlos’ amazing free kick against France.

Following the exploits of Brazilian players, i found that Ronaldo was, at that time, in Inter Milan, and Rivaldo was at Barcelona. so i became interested in the fates of these clubs over the others. This was also the time of the Rivaldo-Kluivert era at Barca, and needless to say, the quality of Football that was displayed by Brazil, Barcelona and Inter Milan at that time spoilt me. This is the primary reason why i dont root for English clubs (apart from Chelsea), because the football played by them is nowhere near the level displayed by a Brazilian or a Barcelona team in full flow.

15 years down the line and a countless number of matches down the line, i have to say that my support for Brazil and Barcelona still continues strong. In fact visiting the Nou Camp was one of the highlights of my Europe trip.

Here are my favorite teams, this is the order in which i support them if they ever face each other:

Country:
1. Brazil
2. Spain
3. Argentina
4. Germany
5. Italy (Yes, i know they play defensive football, but my fandom of Italian football can be completely attributed to one man: The divine ponytail, Roberto Baggio)

Club:
1. Barcelona
2. AC Milan
3. Inter Milan
4. Bayern Munich
5. Real Madrid

All the above teams are perfect exponents of the beautiful game. A Brazil-Spain match is high on the list of dream matches i would like to see happen. And with the rebuilding of the Madrid team, next years “El Clasico” has already become a tremendous display of skill.

Coming to Formula One, i actually started watching Formula One regularly in 1997, but the first race i saw was in 1996. In that race, i remember the scarlet car overtaking people left and right and coming from 7th (or 6th, my memory is not that good) to finish 2nd. To be fair, the race that day was won by Damon Hill (this i remember, because i thought Hill was just a strange name). But the driver who i thought was the best on the day was the proud owner of a stranger name: Schumacher. To be fair, the scarlet colors of the Ferrari team make it hard to miss. And Schumi was always never out of the spotlight too long. So most of the media exposure belonged to Ferrari. But, the thing was, they did not have a fast car back then. I used to get into debates with McLaren supporters in my class regarding who the best driver on the grid was.

In the year 2000, my support to Ferrari was vindicated with their first title in 21 years after coming very close for the past 3 years on the trot. That made me feel happy to be a Ferrari fan, and nothing has changed since.

Ferrari

They say that the true test of being a fan is when the chips are down, and your team goes through bad patch after bad patch, will you sell your team out or will you continue your unconditional support. I am happy to say that through the turmoil of WC98, The close finishes in the year 1997,98 and 99 in F1, the trough period for Barcelona of the years 2000- 2003 and the trophyless season of 2007-08, the Ferrari decline of 2006 and the current year, i have not wavered in my support. In fact, i still say it will only take one good race for Ferrari to get back on track, or just one inspiring performance for Brazil to rise back to the top. May sound optimistic, but what can i say: I am a fan.

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Responses

  1. […] More here: The evolution of a fan « Irreverently timed […]


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