Euro has always been a special tournament to me. Aside from the World Cup, it’s one of my favourites for several reasons. Above all, it’s special because it seems as though ANYTHING can happen; on any given day, any team can win. This is always true of soccer, but it seems especially true in Euro for reasons that are a mystery to me. Here are a few things I absolutely love about Euro in particular and watching pro soccer in general. Maybe you can relate.
Early morning soccer sessions that only the die-hard fans attend.
Early morning soccer is a tradition. Ever since I was a kid, my Dad would wake my brother and I up early, with breakfast sandwiches at the ready, as we watched bleary-eyed soccer matches. It was a well-known fact in our household that if you were a true fan, you made the sleep sacrifice and cheered your team on no matter what.
Any team can win on any given day.
Everyone loves a Cinderella story! In 2004 Greece won the whole thing to everyone’s shock and awe. This year Iceland is the exciting underdog that could go all the way! Even if they don’t, what a story they have to tell indeed; beating England against all odds and making a splash in international play for the first time ever. You can’t make this stuff up! The unpredictable nature of the sport is half the fun.
The beautiful game.
It’s not often that we get to see some of the most talented players in the world duking it out for the chance to bring their country to victory. The patriotism is inspiring, but ultimately we get to watch some beautiful soccer. The heart and passion that is injected into the game is infectious and you can’t help but stand in awe at the perfect play that leads to a winning goal. Soccer is just as much about creativity as it is about athletic ability. These guys need the brains to go with the brawn, and each step onto the pitch is a new challenge. As a soccer player myself, I admire the skill it takes to execute each pass and play with finesse and flare.
We’ve all heard it before. Soccer players are constantly mocked for their propensity toward the dramatic. Yes, it’s true that there are plenty of times players dive and try to get a call that they shouldn’t; but that is not the drama I’m talking about. The drama of the game that I love is the heartbreak of loss after laying it all on the field and the high of winning a game that nobody thought you could win. I think we love sports in general because they have the ability to make you FEEL something. There are ultimate highs and ultimate lows, and as a fan, you rally around your team in the losses and you celebrate the victories like they’re your own. Soccer brings nations together in a way that no other sporting event does, and THAT is worth something in itself.
We’re about half way through the tournament and I can’t wait to see what happens next!