I was watching Men in Blazers the other day. John Oliver was their guest for the entire episode, and, while talking about how he wore a Liverpool hoodie on the Emmys, he mentioned another guest MiB had on previously – Marcus Mumford. Mumford is an AFC Wimbledon fan. Wimbledon currently sits mid-table in League One, England’s third tier. However, he leans toward Manchester United when watching the Premier League.
“I mean it is the thing that tethers us to home. More than anything else, you can make your home wherever you are with your family, right? But the only thing that really tethers us to a sense of place, for me, really, when we’re on the road as much as we are, is football.”
In this interview, Mumford talks about the idea of football tethering you to home and keeping connected to the people you can’t see on a day to day basis. While on tour, football is what helps him stay connected. Watching a game at 8AM in Los Angeles while friends are watching at 4PM back home in England.
Needless to say, this got me thinking.
As this particular calendar year has gone on, we’ve enveloped ourselves in platitudes that we can make the next better. Any sense of what we thought was normal has been shattered. And while we’re all in our homes, waiting for the time when it’s safe to return to whatever the heck “normal” will become, sports have provided an escape. A way for us to cheer for our favorite teams together, yet apart.
What interests me the most about this concept is that it’s something we already do as sports fans. While living in New York, I’d be in a group text with friends in Boston and DC yapping about how Cam Newton seems to have lost it. Or how Mookie is one of the best we’ve seen in a Sox uniform. How Bergy is downright filthy, and has been his whole career.
I have a friend in LA who I text with almost every Tottenham game. A game that may start at noon local time, 7AM for me, 4AM for him. It doesn’t matter.
And I have a hilariously named group chat in which there’s Boston/Tottenham (me, duh), Philly/Arsenal, and New York/Liverpool fandom.
Instead of wearing our rally caps, putting our jerseys on backwards, or sitting in our exact spots, those text chains are our superstition. And that existed before we locked ourselves in our homes, doing our part to eradicate a deadly virus.
But now that everyone is facing it, we’ve pounced on sports as a way to stay interconnected.
Our writer’s room at The Turf has been more active in 2020 than ever, and our content shows that. We’ve had one heck of a year. We’ve solidified bonds, mourned legends, experienced jaw-dropping saves, and have found ways to weather the storm together, so to speak.
We’re not going to get to New Year’s Day and magically get back to living the way we want. In fact, it’s likely to get worse before it gets better. But we’ve got global soccer, NFL playoffs, and the restart of the NBA and NHL to help keep us warm, safe, and connected to our loved ones as we drop the last 0 and add a 1.
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