The European football season stretches from August to May, and yet, as we’ve reached the end of one, the beginning of the next feels so far away. The ecstasies of the World Cup will assuage some of this summer’s loneliness, but it is (obviously and perhaps even for the better) not the same.
38 games is a lot. Over the course of a season, you build up an attachment to a club in a way that can’t happen with a national team. International play occurs in fits and bursts, where club soccer provides a consistent slow burn. Thanks to NBC’s Premier League coverage, I can say that I watched at least some of all 38 Tottenham Hotspur matches this season. I was lucky enough to do so with the fine folks at Boston Spurs. As a reward for our loyalty, Tottenham finished sixth, doomed to another season of purgatory in the Europa League.
If every team won the title, of course, sports wouldn’t really…work. Even in the Premier League, only the top 20% qualify for the Champions League. There must be something more than these to root for.
Spurs did not have a great season. They fired Andre Villas-Boas in December, and I for one hope they get rid of Tim Sherwood soon. Against the top 4, Tottenham was 0-1-7. Not good. But then, there were reasons to smile. Coming back from 2-0 to beat Southampton. A stoppage time equalizer after being down 3-0 against West Brom. These are the moments that keep us going. And I’m grateful to have experienced them alongside fellow fans at the Kinsale.
Tottenham finished their season yesterday with a 3-0 win against Aston Villa. The game felt over by half-time, but seeing as this was the last game of the season, we sang and ate and talked and had a damn good time. Who cared that the season had long been over, that this win secured nothing but another season of Europa League?
Sports is a shared experience; there are very few fandoms, even in something like overseas soccer, that are formed alone. When our teams fail us, it is the communities surrounding the team that inevitably bring us back for more.