Friday, February 16, 2007

So Your National Team Is Crap - louisquatorze

By Abby Waysdorf aka louisquatorze

Hello England! Over the past few months I've noticed a lot of complaints about the state of your national football team. The possibility of not qualifying for Euro 2008 is looming, and I see reactions ranging from despair to dismissal. Perhaps it's time you learned something from us Americans- the fine art of picking an alternate national team.

Americans have long needed another national team to support for when the US either goes out of or doesn't participate in major tournaments. There are several ways of picking. One popular way is to go back into your heritage. This is particularly common of late among Italian-Americans, who have the benefit of a distinct culture and a World Cup winning team. However, this may not work for you English, as I understand most of you descend from other English people. That's fine. It doesn't work for all Americans either. My family background is Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, and Austrian, with I think a little bit of Ukrainian thrown in. Most of the time, I'm better off just supporting the US. Being Jewish, it's been much nicer for us here anyway.

Another good option is the travel one. Been somewhere? Enjoyed it? Got a T-shirt? Then you have a national team. In fact, you don't even have to go there, you just have to like the idea of the country. This is why England is so popular over here- you guys have been cool since the 60's. That makes a great default alternate national team for a lot of Americans. We also speak the language, which means that most of our football news comes from you. Brazil are also very good at marketing themselves as fun and interesting. Plus, their track jackets are in great colors. People who couldn't care less about football wear Brazil track jackets, which are normally bright yellow with stylish blue or green accents. Find a national identity that appeals, and follow that team.

There's also picking a national team based on a person. If you're a fan of a Premiership team, you likely have a good selection to choose from (Arsenal fans like me are spoiled for choice). Take your favorite player and follow his team. If, for some reason, your favorite player is English, don't despair. Your inspirational person doesn't even have to be a footballer. My early fandom of England had as much to do with Robert Smith as any other variable, and my brother backed Sweden in the 2002 World Cup based entirely on ice-hockey great Peter Forsberg. Any writer, singer, or car company can be your muse. Be creative!

Then again, you can always throw arbitrariness out the window and simply watch games, find a team you generally enjoy, and support them. It doesn't make a good bar story, and usually doesn't provide photographs, but it can be rewarding anyway. I've been delighted by Germany recently. They're an exciting young team that seem to really enjoy their football. And their track jackets are excellent.


Ebren said...

Excellent article.

Really enjoyed it.

Unfortunately my second team is New Zealand - which is handy for rugby but not much else.

This summer it was Germany - heresy for an Englishman to say - but after spending the first week of the WC in Berlin and loving it (and half swapping shirts with a cute German girl*), I couldn't not support them.

*for those that care, half swapping shirts involves giving the girl your shirt, then having her not giving you one in return. My mates were unimpressed.

andrewm said...

You supported England because of Robert Smith?

Ebren, I think that means we have to follow the USA because of E doesn't it?

Hey Ebren, that Landon Donovan's magic isn't he?

Abby said...

I did. In fact, in a roundabout way, Robert Smith got me into football to begin with.

Glad you liked the article!

andrewm said...

I've been impressed with all the articles we've had on here, including this one.

MotM said...

I like the idea of a second team - I usually end up going for Italy partly because the kit is always, without fail, the best, but mainly because they're hard-nosed bastards that I would like playing for my team.

An exception was the France team of Platini, Giresse, Tigana and Fernandez - Europe's Brazil 70, even if they didn't win a World Cup.

New Zealand are shaping up as my second team for the cricket World Cup - honest cricketers who play interesting stuff. In the Rugby, it'll be France as they have the best chance of beating New Zealand.

andrewm said...

Mouth, definitely NZ for the world cup.

For obvious LFC reasons I was supporting Spain last summer. Damn if they didn't let me down again. They should have chosen Pepe.

olivier said...

offsideintahiti said:

louisquatorze rules!

well, ruled really, until that gruesome incident with a blade early one morning.

Anyway, Abby, I really enjoyed that. A very pleasant read.

My second teams are Ireland and Scotland. Help.

olivier said...

And offside goes and makes a fool of himself by confusing louisquatorze and louisseize.


Everybody knows louisquatorze died choking on a bretzel.

Abby said...

Ah well. You got the country, it's close enough. Glad you enjoyed that.

And yeah, Scotland and Ireland? Not much help there. Ireland nearly gave San Marino a point...although Scotland beat France, so maybe you're on to something.

greengrass said...

abby - see my comments on your other article!
So you're a gooner? Never mind - if you're lucky, you'll grow out of it (I am a Man Utd. fan with a soft spot
for Liverpool, but as we say back home, "There's nowt as queer as folk").

Tweet it, digg it