MLS / Premier League / Soccer

Chicago Spurs

I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog as I have in the past (mainly because of my commitment to write for Soccer Newsday – and here’s my shameless plug for you to check out my articles – Soccer Newsday – Katherine Rupp) but that does not deter me from continuing to write some thoughts here, although maybe not as often.

I do want to take you through a normal Saturday/Sunday in my life here in Chicago from August through May, as well as tell you a bit about my weekend when Tottenham was recently on their North American tour.

Now, keep in mind that Tottenham Hotspur supporters are a different breed, of which I fit in quite nicely seeing as I’m also from Minnesota. I’ll explain…

You see, Tottenham, similar to the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves, and Wild…and to a point, Minnesota United FC, are always quite decent throughout their respective seasons and in their own conferences or leagues. Then as each team gets close to their playoffs or any big games, they don’t usually perform to the best of its ability. Then the downward trajectory always ends up as the usual trend for Minnesota sports teams. What I’m getting at with this quick explanation is that I’m used to, pretty much from birth, some sort of disappointment in any sports teams that I follow or support or for which I occasionally check the scores.

Alas, I digress.

During the Premier League season, as I am traveling up to the soccer bar that the group, the – and I emphasize THE – Chicago Spurs watch the games, is always open for games, no matter the time or day, can certainly be a hike (especially in the winters when the games are at 7:30 am and it’s cold and snowy…). But regardless of my sacrifices, no matter the time or day, the Atlantic is open. And even though I’m very punctual, Chicago transit on the other hand, is not. So more times than I’d like to say I’ve been a bit late and I show up about 5 minutes after kick off. However, regardless of my tardiness, there are always turned heads once the door opens; but rather than be greeted by stink eyes, I’m welcomed with smiles and ‘Hey Katherine’ or ‘You’re finally here!’

After being ushered in with warm greetings, I find my ‘Snark Table’ posse. You have to have a bit of cynicism and snark to stand and/or sit near us to watch the match. Or at least to enjoy the match you must have a little bit of humor, because sometimes, when Tottenham is down 3 or 4 at half, you have other fans and humor to get along. And although we can be cynical, there’s an air of comedy and inclusiveness that you understand.

While watching the beginning of the match, I also, eventually, take one of the pastries, croissants, cookies, scones, or breakfast bars that Ann has made specifically for the game. And though I say I take ‘one’ of the food items, you can safely assume – if they’re not all gone – that I mean I take two.

Chants, cheers, and clapping can be heard from minute one to minute 92, 93, or 98. The occasional ‘Come on you, Spurrssss,’ is yelled, but what’s really special, as mentioned previously, are the snarky comments. Usually those start from before minute one as we see the line-up of the squad and the cynicism of well…everything (usually)…seeps out – whether that’s cynicism of Levy, the coaching staff, or the formation (but rarely the roster – and if it is, it’s more than always a funny or sarcastic comment about a last name or someone’s hair, etc…) – and one is able to experience what it’s like to be a Tottenham supporter and American and soccer fan, etc. all lumped into one.

Then, throughout the match, comments are made, chants are heard, jokes are laughed at and the half comes to an end.

At half there’s always a refill of drinks – whether that’s a Guinness for some, an Irish coffee for others, or just a water for a couple people – and on comes the second half. By the final whistle, people usually decide to hang out and play Cards Against Humanity or if it’s a later game, we’ll go out to lunch and grab burgers and beer.

Now I go through this whole occasion of a ‘day in the life’ of being a Chicago Spurs supporter because Tottenham was just in town for their pre-season tour in America (Seattle and Chicago) and Canada (Toronto). Part of the reason why the club chose to come to Chicago was because of the tremendous fan support they had heard of and for the great soccer culture that has cemented itself in the Windy City but also that it’s evolving into a more knowledgeable and passionate city for the sport. Chicago isn’t there yet as a Kansas City or New York or the Pacific Northwest of Seattle or Portland of a soccer city, but Chicago has its pockets of soccer fandom, whether it’s Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and the like. Regardless, Tottenham chose Chicago and as you would expect, it turned out as a thriving success with an open training full of chants and cheers on Friday, along with a Q and A with Spurs legends Steffen Fruend and the King (Ledley, that is) on Friday night. Additionally, there was a supporters group friendly joining Chicago Fire fans and Tottenham fans before the actual game between Tottenham Hotspur and the Chicago Fire. The Spurs won the international friendly with the score 2-0 with goals coming from Harry Kane and Aaron Lennon.

What a wonderful weekend.

 

This was at open training on Friday afternoon. A lot of one touch football. Tasty.

Opening Training

This was on Friday night with a few of my Chicago Spurs friends.

Chicago Spurs

This was right after Harry Kane’s goal at Saturday’s Chicago Fire vs. Tottenham Hotspur friendly. As you can see, it was Spurs fan on Spurs fan on Spurs fan.

Spurs Fans at CHIvTOT game

And this was at open training with two of my dear Chicago Spurs friends Ann and Hana.

 

Open Training with Chi Spurs ladies

Lastly, just one of the many ‘us-ies’ (like selfies but not just with me) that I took with players on Friday at open training. This one (if you are unaware) is forward, Roberto Soldado. I must say, the men on Tottenham Hotspur are certainly some wonderfully nice fellas.

Roberto Soldado

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