BY TIM STILLMAN / @LittleDutchVA
Attending one’s first match is the ultimate rite of passage for any football fan. I’ve documented mine elsewhere before (see here). But unlike most of life’s other rites of passage, the first football match is one that lends the opportunity to extend itself, so it can be lived vicariously through others. Since my first match in March 1992, I’ve had the pleasure of taking other family members to their first ever Arsenal games.
Passing the torch through the family is one of the football fan’s most sacred traditions. I’m not at an age where I have children of my own (well, I am. I’m 27, what I mean is, I’m not mature enough to have children of my own), so the well earned ritual of taking your next of kin to their first ever game is not upon me. But due to quirks in the construction of my family, I have had comparable experiences to call upon.
For instance, the youngest of my four elder sisters, Becky, showed little to no interest in football for the first 18 years of her life. She would cringe visibly at every mention of it in our household. In fact, she would sometimes go as far as to sigh audibly and flounce out of the room. For reasons that escape recollection, in February 2000, I had a spare ticket next to me for a home match against Southampton. Come the evening prior to the match; I had exhausted my coterie of schoolmates in an attempt to shift the ticket. I spoke with my Mum about how best to resolve the situation.