TP Nick, great story!
I'm only 31 (it feels like already 31), but my interests in sports have definitely changed over the years. Since I'm Dutch I naturally grew up with football (everybody in the world calls it football and so do I). I witnessed Ajax Amsterdam winning the Champions League in 95 at a young age. My father was a big Ajax-fan (and Johan Cruijff disciple), so of course I had to be as well. Since most people were supporting Ajax and they had lots of success it was a very easy time. I remember a lot of songs on the radio about Ajax around that time (if you can imagine that
). But I hadn't really made a conscious choice about being an Ajax-fan yet.
As a boy I spent my time mostly playing football on the schoolyard or at the local football field. When the national team played I often went into the backyard during halftime to try to imitate my heroes. I became a member of the local football club and soon realized that I didn't have much talent
. But I did become champion 3 times in one season once with my team (autumn, winter and spring), although my contributions were only significant during the winter, since it was indoors (futsal) where my lack of pace wasn't that much of a hindrance. So that was my sports career
However I stayed very interested in sports. I primarily watched football, cycling, speed skating, ski jumping, tennis and Olympics. Athletes that I admired were Dennis Bergkamp (football, a magician), Roger Federer (tennis
) and Sven Kramer (speed skating legend, 20x World Champion distances, 9x World Champion allround, 9x Olympic medal winner of which 4x gold).
During the years I got more attached to Ajax. Their unique playing style and courage to play their own game whichever the opponent is very identifiable. By sticking to their own philosophy they have managed to get into the semis of the Champions League this year, for those who don't know. Quite an accomplishment considering the financial landscape in European football!
But as I stated my interests are broad. And that's why I wanted to start watching some basketball. Because of the time difference we hardly get to see any American sports in the Netherlands. At best a one-minute recap of the Super Bowl. When I started a job as night auditor in 2013 I often had some spare time and how better to fill that time than watch some basketball
. So at that point I really became invested in basketball. Learn all the rules, the players, the teams, the league. A very enjoyable experience. However I decided I had to pick a team to support to keep things interesting.
I didn't want to go the easy road and choose a team that had lots of success or was filled with stars (even though I fully enjoyed watching the Spurs smash the Heat during the 2014 NBA Finals with their team basketball). I was triggered by a team that was awful on paper, lost a lot, but somehow made it nice to watch by their gritty play. And maybe the fact that green is my favorite color had something to do with it. But in November 2014 I became a Boston Celtics fan! I don't know the exact day
I was fully aware that my team probably wouldn't make the playoffs and that the way to success would be very long. And a friend that knew the NBA laughed at me, when I said that they didn't play as bad as their losing record at that time indicated. However I liked the team. Smart, Bradley, Olynyk, Sullinger, also Crowder and Thomas joined, and they all had that underdog mentality. Little did I know about the history of the Celtics and how things would change very rapidly. So please accept me and don't disregard me as a success-supporter
Long story short: the Celtics have changed my life. At least as it comes to sports. I try to watch all Celtics games and basketball has become my number one interest. I will be an Ajax-fan for life and I follow the Dutch national team, but I'm not that big a football fan anymore in general. The point is that by broadening your view you start to see the shortcomings of a conservative sports like football. A lot of rule changes have to be made as well as changing the financial climate to modernize football. Have you heard about the FIFA having the idea of starting its own bank? Yes, that will be trustworthy
If you have stuck with me during this long read, I'm still a big time sports fan. And I still get excited as a small kid during big sports moments, for instance like last Sunday, when Mathieu Van der Poel (remember that name!) won the Amstel Gold Race in amazing fashion. I'm already a bit nervous for Tuesday, when the first leg between Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax will be played and of course I'm looking forward to the Bucks-Celtics series!