To whom it may concern:
I do not like people asking me why I love what (or who) I love, for love and true joy comes in the faith of never questioning.
I cannot, and will not even attempt to define the how and why I came to love sports, specifically my First Love Football and my Second love Formula One (which then spawned undying affections for MotoGP, WRC and World Superbikes). All I know is that for almost half of my life now, I have been their ardent, indefatigable, and solid supporter.
Perhaps it is only right that I express my profound gratitude to the TV channels ESPN and Star Sports, for keeping me in the loop for the past 12 years on anything and everything that the sporting world has to offer. There was a brief time in 2001-2002 (Forgive my hazy memory, must be post-traumatic stress disorder) when my local cable operator removed the two channels from their lineup and my football-motorsport-loving heart was plunged into dark desperation, reduced to maniacally pressing the F5 button on my old desktop computer as I wait for the Live Text updates for Football matches and Formula One races from several websites to update. To add insult to injury, all I had back then was Dial-up Internet, but I had to get my fix, so nothing can stop me.
I am an unapologetic armchair analyst/shrewd spectator, never having been blessed with the genetic predisposition for athleticism. I support Liverpool Football Club above all, but I have to admit that I do harbour a soft spot for Newcastle United and AC Milan. I have had a love-hate relationship ongoing with Real Madrid CF for nearly 6 years now, the reasons for which deserve a whole separate post altogether. I openly betray my country by supporting England in International competitions but have already defected and switched loyalties to my 2nd International Football Team since 2006, Team España. I was deep in denial about falling out of love for England until the Final Squad for the 2010 World Cup was released and that’s when I knew that although they will always have a special place in my heart, my love and support for England will never be the same again. *Cue the violins and pass the hankies, por favor*
I got into Formula One as a wee girl by liking Michael Schumacher. I followed him when he went to Ferrari and the rest became Awesome Motorsport History. I’m still angry, nay, furious at Scuderia Ferrari for disposing of Kimi Raikkonen as if he’s nothing but a deadbeat boyfriend, and yet that will not stop me from donning my Scarlet Ferrari cap when I return to Singapore this September to watch the Singaporean GP for the 2nd year running. Not many Filipinos, or Filipinas, for that matter, are into Football and Formula One as much as I am, and far too often people are surprised to find out just how fully-invested I am into those sports. I pretty much watch and casually follow other sports also, such as Tennis, Rugby, Golf, MotoGP, WRC, Snooker, even 9-Ball Pool.
Generally I am a lover of underdogs. Quite possibly, I’ve shed more tears over sport-related losses and triumphs than over, say, life’s dramas. To name a few, crying after England was eliminated in the 1998 World Cup Round of 16 by Argentina through a penalty shootout? Check. Post-FA Cup Final 2001 when Liverpool came back from being down 0-1 to winning 2-1 (Otherwise known as The Michael Owen Final)? Check. Post-UEFA Champions League Final 2005 when Liverpool made the Best Ever Comeback in European Finals History? Check. Crying and laughing almost at the same time at 4.00am when Kimi Raikkonen made it to F1’s history books by winning the Drivers’ Championship after 7 years of heartbreak? Check. Hey, we all have our own survival strategies, right?
So, what are my qualifications to blog about these sports I gush so much about? Well, I still have boxes of 3 and-a-half inch floppy disks full of football photos, match reports and videos, dating back to the times when I can’t stay up late to regularly watch the football live because I have to get up at 5.00am to go to school. I wrote letters to my favourite player of all-time Michael Owen (you can stop sniggering now, thank you) to his old club Liverpool FC just to get the Standard ‘Magazine-with-poster’ Fan reply from the club which I still keep and cherish. I did that for 3 straight years, even ordering their free club merchandise catalogs just so I can have a keepsake, and for some weird reason, I’ve had the nagging feeling that he was bound to leave Liverpool soon. In a matter of a year, I was able to track down his home address (the how and why of this deserves a separate post in the future) and again, I sent a letter telling him of my undying love and adoration for his own brand of footballing perfection. Two years after, Mr. Owen did send me back a signed mini-poster and up to this day I still wonder whether I can extract DNA from that piece of glossy paper so I can save it for cloning in the future (I’m joking, okay?). I’ve joined god knows how many sites, forums and chatrooms, diving headfirst into the waters of spectacular football fandom. I argued, flirted and fought my way into earning the rep of a real ‘fan’, and not just some fangirl who squeals at the sight of totty (I still do that, but at least I can also appreciate their technical skills). I skipped classes during my university days in order to trek to an old-fashioned pub and nearly got squashed down by burly foreign men just to watch the 2002 World Cup matches. I feigned illnesses the next day and skipped exams because of football matches (Priorities, man!). During the 2006 World Cup, I was a skint student who couldn’t afford the pay-per-view telecast, so I “listened” to the commentary from a dodgy channel’s garbled telecast throughout the tournament, so much so that I started hearing commentator Martin Tyler’s voice inside my head everywhere I go for a month. When I first laid eyes on the seemingly shy, Paul Newman-meets-Bambi-looking Kimi Raikkonen in his Sauber suit way back in 2001, I already had a feeling that he’ll be something special and that he’ll eventually end up in Ferrari. He may be a villain to some but I cannot muster enough will to dislike Fernando Alonso. He amuses me too much. Funnily enough, I still harbour pipe dreams of becoming the first-ever Female Formula One World Champion. The sound of the F1, WRC, and MotoGP engines turn me on in an inexplicable level. When I pound the pavement, I pretend I’m an F1 car and try to overtake as many people as I can, with matching commentary in my head. I bow to Valentino Rossi’s immense talent and yet I love the little Spaniard Dani Pedrosa to bits, and will pledge complete loyalty to him in front of thousands of Rossiboppers. In times of distress or just pure boredom, I find myself magnetized to Shopping Mall Arcades, dispensing coins into an old Sega World Rally Championship simulator and pretending that I am a female Marcus Gronholm/Sebastian Loeb/Mikko Hirvonen incarnate. I rarely drive and choose to commute daily but I’m currently saving up in hopes of attending a local racing school. Nearly every day, I visit and trawl dozens of football, motorsport, and sporting blogs and sites to keep myself updated on all the gossip, speculations, viral videos, picspams, and most of all, the delicious snark from the journos and the wannabe-journos. I may not be the most learned, technically-proficient, trivia-and-statistic-spewing fan machine, but I more than make up for it with heart and enthusiasm. See, I can practically wax lyrical for ages, but since you may have something better to do and I’ve already taken up a bit of your time, I’ll choose to stop right here. For now.
Obviously, brevity may not be my strongest suit, but how can you encapsulate the magnitude and gravity of your love for something in so few a words and so little space and time?
The passion, the obsession, the inexplicable but strangely fulfilling worshipping– Football and Motorsports rule my mind day and night, night and day. They make me happy, smile like a fool, make me cry, make the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stand up and do the Macarena. It’s a delicious mixture of agony and ecstasy.
So sit back, fasten your proverbial seatbelts and enjoy. I promise this is going to be an eventful ride.