There is this funny stereotype that American sports fans tend to get labeled with. Many people in the country and especially those outside of the country like to laugh at the fact that us Yanks use the term "We" when referring to a team. I can recall numerous times where I have come back from an MLS game and said "Boy did we play our hearts out" only to be met with the response "we? I didn't see you out in the field". I get it....I am not a professional athlete, but for some reason that opinion has always struck a nerve with me.
I realize this isn't just a soccer thing, it's a sports thing, but I have to admit, I do run into it more with soccer, especially with my European family and friends. It surprises me too, because the culture surrounding football in Europe, as well as other sports like cricket, rugby and such, is ravenous. At the end of the day though, they always seem to separate themselves as fans from the actual team. Who knows? Maybe that is why supporters clubs are such an important part of soccer.
I don't know if it's because people like me had dreams of being a star athlete growing up and it is our way of living vicariously through the athletes who are living out the life we had hoped we would or if it's just the fact that we as a nation starve for an all encompassing feeling of unity, it's just in our DNA. Regardless, I am one of those people who says "we" and I am not ashamed of it and refuse to let anyone tell me why it is ridiculous that I feel that way.
You see the majority of us are aligned with the teams we love from the time we are born. We don't get traded, we don't get transferred and us true fans aren't out there in free agency land looking for the next team to support. We aren't driven by money like the athletes are, in fact we all to often spend more than we should just to show how much we love our team. It is arguable that in the long run we are much more a part of the team than most of the actual athletes will ever be. You may watch your team go through multiple star strikers and a handful of top keepers, but nobody ever replaces you. As a true fan you are there from day one until the end. Sunshine, rain, tears of joy or tears of pain, success and defeat, the one thing that stays constant is you, the fan.
So the next time someone gives you guff when you say "oh my God, we won!" or "man, we played well today!" just remember how much truth is in that small little word, "we". Maybe it's that they have never known what it is like to really be a part of something or maybe they just take things a little to literally, but a world where that sort of pride is deemed ridiculous seems like a really boring world to me.
Show it when you cheer, show it when you chant, show it with your style (obviously we can help with that) and show it without any shame!