As I mentioned in a recent post I went to my first Dutch eredivisie football match a couple of weeks ago and within minutes, despite my stress about going, I felt at home.
In a previous life, before I moved fifteen years ago to the Netherlands, I was a season ticket holder at Vicarage Road, home of Watford football club. I had been a regular on the terrace watching The Hornets since I was seven year olds. I’m not going to help you with the maths but I can assure you I spent many a year cheering on my local club.
At first I went with my mum, dad and brother but over the years the rest of my family moved away from Watford and I continued to occupy a seat in the Vicarage Road stadium. More often than not I went alone. In the same seat, in the same place on the terraces, every other week for a couple of years.
Until a few weeks ago when I took my two eldest sons to see our local team. It felt like coming home. It was a strange feeling.
There is something about the buzz of a football stadium. There is something about supporting a football team in unison with thousands of people around you. There is something about being totally immersed in the thrill of a football match, in the winning and losing. There is something about closing yourself off to the world around you. There is something about being in that moment, a moment where only the football matters. There is something wonderful about finding a quiet place to sit and lose yourself whilst being surrounded by thousands of other people.There is something amazing about finding silence in your mind whilst surrounded by an intense wall of noise. I re-discovered my place to just be.
I was surprised to realise how much I had missed being on the football terraces. I was even more surprised to realise why.