Today I am delighted to welcome my good frienmd Ankit Singh to 1ND2OU for the first time, although he has twice appeared on my sister site Gunners Town. He is a superb writer and I look forward to welcoming him to London from India in a few weeks for the NLD.. By profession he is a photographer and as such all bar one of the images in this post are his own from his previous visits……
I read many blogs and like many of them, but 2 of them I admire greatly. Mr. Arseblog’s Blog & Mr. Seager’s blog. I don’t write very often, but when I do Dave is the one of the first few people I share it with. And that’s because he loves what he does. He reads every single blog! If he has commented or RTed on any of your stuff ever tt means he read it, and perhaps thought about it. I admire such a person and I’m glad he’s a friend. It’s a complete pleasure to be featured on his esteemed site and I thank him for letting me share my thoughts here.
Why am I here?
If you’ve not asked yourself this question your friends and media over the years must have ensured that you have considered it. No, not the option, just the question or questions….
Think what it is like to be champions (again). How green the grass smells on the other side? Also when it’s freshly cut? The times when you look at Swansea passing the ball around, like a puppy looks at treats or when City buys yet another big name?
Or, the moment Kosc got slapped on his head when on his knees staring at the pitch. The moment when Babel dived for the penalty in the Champions League? I’m sure everyone has a personal favourite here. Or perhaps it is just when heckled continuously by friends or United/Chelsea/Barca fans on online forums?
Do we enjoy the 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 United mate feels the same way. But if you look at it closely even the Barca fan is worried about tomorrow and a United 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. While some turn it around and find humor in it, it’s 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. Whether you live in North London, or you just disliked the idea of United 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 colours 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 it’s 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. It’s not something you can throw away or change. It’s permanent and thus switching loyalties is impossible. Gooners for life is not just an awesome line on a poster, it’s the truth. You could never bring yourself to wear a United , 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 the same principles and ideologies. The ‘being-a-better-man’ school of thought is championed by Arsene Wenger. A shining example of what world football should be. And we should 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 it’s about who you are, where you’re coming from and what your own personal values are, in life.
E.g. Some understand the business logic and how it’s all about commerce, while others choose to stay angry over Cesc’s departure. Some accept that the club needs a big time push in quality while others can’t stop supporting Denilson.
It’s not really as easy as slicing Gooners as pessimists,optimists or realists. Romantic or classic, perhaps left brained or right brained, (or the famous acronym labeling).
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 say only their way is the right way. 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 during this journey, I hope we meet each other at some junction along the way and hopefully with a smile on our faces.
Thanks Ankit. A great read and a calming message for all supporters. Please follow @yoiii and he will be with me in the Tollington before the Spuds game if you want to say hello.
Here is the man himself in case you want to a face to the name:
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