On Tuesday night I got to go to a real English football match. The Queens Park Rangers vs Ipswitch. I hadn’t heard of either of the teams but soccer - ahem, sorry, football- is one of the few sports I actually understand and enjoy watching, so I thought I’d check out this major part of British culture.
Like the other impulsive decisions I’ve made here, this turned out to be a really good call. Our GC had gotten us seats just a few rows back from the field, so I could almost have reached out and touched one of the players when he came our way for a throw in. I was mesmerized for the first half, even though neither team had scored a goal. By the second half the novelty was wearing off and my toes were frozen, but I forced myself to concentrate so I wouldn’t miss anything. I was certainly doing better than the little boy in front of me, who was banging his head on the back of his seat and letting it bounce off, protected by the fuzzy hat that was engulfing his head.
Finally QPR scored 70 minutes in and I joined in the chanting, “We. Are. Q.P.R! We-are-QPR!”
The Brits get very into their football. I guess it’s the equivalent of American football, but it seems like they are more intense about it as a whole. Apparently in order to be a fan you must learn all manner of chants and songs. It also helps to yell and shout insults at the opposing fans and swear loudly every time something bad happens.
I quite enjoyed the experience.