For the Love of Football

How far would you go for something you well and truly loved? Something you were extremely passionate about? Something you literally thought about all day, everyday, every year? These were the thoughts that flooded my head as the World Cup progressed, and so did my favorite team of the tournament: England.

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Written by Andrew Banaag

Let’s face it: who would’ve have thought that, by the time of this writing, England’s national football team (the men’s team, at least), who haven’t made a semi-finals appearance since 1990, would actually do well enough to make a semis appearance this year? Given the stacked opposition and horrible run of form the past few international competitions, literally no one would have. The “it’s coming home” chants that you maybe would have seen being thrown around social media were apparently meant as a joke. A tweet explained that the phrase was really more of a joke than anything, as the English were well aware of their international drought, and that it supposedly reflected their self-deprecating humor.

To answer the question in the previous paragraph, I sure as hell didn’t believe they’d make it THAT far, which is exactly why I decided to “go the extra mile” for my beloved England. The night of their Quarter Final match against Sweden, I tweeted that I’d “shave my head if England win tonight”. Again, given the facts in the paragraph above, it seemed as if I wasn’t going to end up looking like an egg, but boy was I wrong.

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In the 30th minute of that match, England had won a corner. Up to take it was Ashley Young, the oldest player in the English squad. He takes a few steps back, runs up a bit, and crosses it in. To me, it seemed as if this was the slowest cross to ever make it into the 6-yard box the entire competition, and I was certain that maybe a Swedish head would get onto it first. But to my absolute surprise (and shock), it fell onto the head of English defender Harry Maguire, and rocketed straight towards the bottom left corner of the net past Olsen to make it 1 – 0 to England! I say shocked because I was literally shocked, as it became very clear to me that it was an actual possibility that I’d have to shave my head clean.

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To make matters much worse, Dele Alli decided to score a cute header by the near post 18 minutes after halftime. At this point, I had totally misjudged the entire English football team, and began planning how to disappear off the face of the world. Joking aside, it was a glorious moment for English fans all over the world, as winning this match would see them through to the semis for the first time in almost 30 years.

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Honestly, shaving my head wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it be. I don’t use that much shampoo anymore, I no longer need to use conditioner, can’t wake up with bed hair when there really is no hair to bed, and I don’t need to comb it after every shower. I have lost a bit of pride though, and shame is a friend I’m going to make in the coming months. For the love of football (and England!), I guess.



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