Hi, I’m Ken. Not Mark; Ken. Mark’s cousin. Mark’s cousin – Ken. Hi. Turns out there’s only so many times one can say “want me to write you a blog?” before somebody calls you on it and you fumble your excuse to get out of it. So I’m here and you’re here so let’s make the most of it.
Ok, now that I’ve lost half of you I’ll get onto the point of the blog – my somewhat wayward take on the life of being a Celtic fan. Quick bit of background on me: I was born in Dundee and raised in England, so… Celtic was an obvious choice? I’ve had the usual jibes about following my local team since I first moved back to Scotland; to me though, being a fan is about the community and family that it represents. And my family – the ones I’ll acknowledge anyway – are all Celtic fans.
I’ve been to a few matches, but not many. I buy a Celtic top every couple of season (my next one is going to have Kenaldo on the back, because – damn) and watch as many games on TV as I can. I pay for Sky Sports and ESPN who pay for TV rights, so I’m still supporting the club in a roundabout way. Although, actually, by that logic, I’m also funding Castle Greyskull. Okay, scratch that last part! My cousin Mark though, who you’ll probably recognise as the owner of this blog, is a much bigger fan. Going to a match with him recently was… an experience. Ahem.
I’m not a complete idiot, and I know the words to You’ll Never Walk Alone, though apparently trying to sing it in the style of a choirbhoy isn’t in keeping with the general atmosphere of the stand. Beyond that though, I’m lost. I know to jump up and down and clap and cheer when something good happens for the boys in green, and boo and hiss when the bluenose in black (or bright yellow; damn the ref’s away strip) makes a bad call.
When it comes to the rest of the Celtic songs though, I’m genuinely at a loss. There was one song that felt more like a game of vocal tennis which started off with one end of the stand shouting “Celtic” at the other end, only for them to say it back. Just when I thought I was getting the hang of that, they sang something different back to us and I got lost at that point. You know what Celtic Park requires? A damned hymn book. Just… something with some bloody lyrics or something. I spent the entire match in awe of how amazing the ‘regulars’ were at supporting our club from the stands. I was well out of my league. I’ve learnt more songs on Twitter in the past week than I have done at any point in my life before hand!
And it dawned on my this Sunday past (05/02/2012) just how global the fanbase of the Bhoys really is when everyone started going on about the Superbowl. I mean, I’ve seen Any Given Sunday but I’d never sat down to watch a game in my life, and looked all set to continue that habit this weekend. As it turns out however, one of the players on one of the teams just so happened to be a Celtic fan and my Twitter feed was ablaze with comments referring to Lawrence Tynes. Figuring I hadn’t had an excuse to stay up late muching on junk food in a while, I decided to try and get into the game and support an overseas Tim.
Turns out that supporting a team in a game of American football is even harder than it is a team at Paradise. At the tender age of 26 I’d finally realised what it must be like to be a woman having the offside rule explained. What was this nonsense? They kept substituting their entire team for an entirely different team depending on who had the “ball” [<- seriously?] and the what was described as a 60-minute match lasted the better part of 3 hours. And they had more commercials than a Classifieds section of the Argos catalogue. In a strange twist of fate, it turns out that despite being the decider of the National “Football” League – the biggest sport and sporting event in the country – most people watching the game prefer the commercials anyway. Wouldn’t get that watching the World Cup final I’d say! You know, proper football.
So yeah – I know sweet (S)FA about being a Celtic fan, less about American football, and couldn’t pick Lawrence Tynes out of a line-up with name tags. But he (/they) won, so the biggest sporting event in America somehow became all about a Celtic fan winning the Superbowl. I’m ok with that, but until he starts doing a conga or eating various childrens-party foodstuffs I’d like to think I’m at least a bigger fan that Mr Tynes. I have absolutely nothing on the Green Brigade or anyone that’s a Celtic Park regular. I shall soldier on though, and try to appreciate Celtic for the club that it is and the extended family it offers. I shall try to learn some words to some songs before I go back to Paradise to save getting curious looks from anyone who heard me and the elbow in the ribs from my rather embarrassed cousin. Ultimately, for the time being at least, I get to enjoy a good run of form from a club that I love and just can’t get enough of!
For more uninformed ramblings; sometimes about Celtic, sometimes it’s unclear; follow me on Twitter @kenhalfpenny