I raised 2 questions a few posts back, so here is the answer to the 2nd.
Why am I here?
If you’ve not asked this question yourself, your friends and media over the years must have ensured that you did consider it. No, not the option. Just the question.
Think what its like to be champions (again). How green the grass smells on the other side. Also when its freshly cut. And then those times when you look at Swansea passing the ball around, like a puppy looks at treats.
The moment Kosc got slapped on his head when on his knees staring at the pitch. The moment Babel dived for the penalty. I’m sure everyone has a personal favorite here. Or may be just when heckled continuously by friends or Utd/Che/Barca fans on forums.
Do we enjoy pain? Like Nick Hornby wrote “The natural state of a football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score” . True. On the pitch, and off the pitch. During football season and during transfer season. True True True. Then I wonder is he talking about all football fans or just Arsenal? Sounds so much on the money for me. Can’t imagine if my Utd mate feels the same way. But if you look at it closely even the Barca fan is worried about tomorrow, even a Utd fan is unhappy with transfers.
Though parts of it are true, bonds borne of pain & suffering are deeper one could argue and are harder to shake off. While pain is inevitable for most (fans), there are some individuals who go looking for it. Its an addiction for a few. Sadism sometimes trumps Schaudenfreude. Think about it.
But that’s not why we are here, Or why we’re still here, Or why we’re all here.
We are here because of own choice. Irrespective of how it started, whether your dad was a gooner, or all you friends were, or you live in North London, or you just disliked the idea of Utd Frat boys, or you saw DB10 play. Whatever your reason, it was you who made this choice originally, and when you wore the metaphorical Jersey and kissed the badge, you made a permanent pact with the badge. The badge has become you and the colors of the Jersey reflect their hue on your thoughts. It might sound funny but your DNA did in fact mutate and Arsenal became a permanent part of you. The idea has taken permanence as it amalgamated with your own identity over time. Arsenal’s defeat is your defeat, Arsenal’s victory your own too. This banner makes sense for any club. And its true for most. We come first and then the others.
Arsenal is now a part of you. No not like as a middle finger which can be cut-off, but more like the blood which flows through your veins. You are Arsenal. Arsenal is you. Its not something you can throw away or change. Its permanent and thus switching loyalties is impossible. Gooners for life is not just an awesome line on a poster, its the truth. You could never wear a Utd , Spurs’ ‘pool Jersey in your life even if you wanted to. You can’t run away from yourself , can you?
My Arsenal is NOT your Arsenal.
“We are not responsible for what we have come to be” said the protagonist in a movie recently, (Stoker – A master piece by Tony Scott, must watch!)
That line makes total sense doesn’t it, in our context too. We’ve been through a lot together, seen ups & downs. We are almost all in agreement with which clubs we can’t stand and which clubs we respect. We’re exposed to to the same principles and ideologies. The ‘being-a-better-man’ school of thought championed by Arsene Wenger. A shining example of what world football should be. And we imbibe those principles in our daily lives too perhaps. I know some do.
But that’s only half the story isn’t it? While we have much in common, we all disagree on so many fronts too. On which players to buy, what is right time to go ape-shit on TL, which ex-player is a four letter word, what joke is appropriate about Bale, whether Cesc is welcome back, and whether Suarez is welcome at all.
We all disagree on most of those issues. And more than being right or wrong its about who you are, where you’re coming from and what your own personal values are, in life.
E.g. Some get the business logic and how its all about commerce, while some choose to stay cross over Cesc’s departure. Some accept that the club needs a big time push in quality while others can’t stop supporting Denilson.
Its not really as easy as slicing gooners as pessimists / optimists / realists etc. Or romantic / classic. Or left brained or right brained. (or the famous acronym labelling).
Some people demand more, some trust blindly, some are far more patient. Some are aggressive and some are so calm you might feel they’ve no passion in them.
Besides the values they’re ingrained with they also are in their own personal stage in life – a caring mother, a promising doctor, a struggling DJ, a ‘popular’ bouncer, a veteran soldier, a stressed nurse, a cancer patient, a divorcee banker, or a simple cab driver.
All these fans (people) and thousands more such cannot agree on many things, because they have different views about money, ethics, emotion, planning, trust, patience etc. You can of course insist in every situation that you are right and your way is the right way, but it would be wonderful to accommodate another view which comes from another approach/background may be.
I say screw those who think you are wrong. Screw those who love to preach. Screw those who bully you into buying their view. Your Arsenal is you, and no one can take that away from you. Enjoy it as you please. Arsenal is a way of life, and through this journey, I hope we meet each other at some junction. Hopefully with a smile on our faces.