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Oct312011

One Helluva Player

BY ALAN DEBOER

As a southern Californian, soccer did not come naturally to me. My mom was scared of having me play the game because "all that hitting the ball with your head might cause brain damage." As I got into high school, I had a counsellor who loved soccer, and so I watched the World Cup a bit in order to have something to talk about with him. The 1994 World Cup was in the United States, after all.

During the 1998 World Cup, I remember watching more games, specifically the Dutch team, where I was wowed by two things. First, there were twin brothers with the same last name ‘deBoer’ as me. Could it be? I'd never imagined hearing my surname being called out on the television as a sports star. Secondly, there was a helluva player named Dennis Bergkamp who scored a wondrous goal against Argentina that got me quite excited. I decided I MUST watch this man more.

I discovered that Bergkamp played for the Arsenal, and slowly started incorporating the team into my life. I would at first just check results and see how the team was doing. However, after watching a few games as the Arsenal became more prominent on US television, I quickly fell in love with the whole team. Ljungberg? Now there's a punk I could relate to. Titi Henry, Vieira, Keown, Parlour, Edu, Pires. It was heaven!

Now I am completely smitten. Even as I go out of town this weekend, I am antsy and excited for the 5.30am Sunday morning game. I regularly spend over 30 minutes a day reading about the team, and at my height I was indulging in daily two hour binges trying to stay in touch with their progress. I can't imagine a life without them now, and my wife has gotten used to the occasional surly look on my face at 7, 8 or 9 am when I come home and the team has done poorly.

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    The Arsenal Collective - A Home for Memories of The Arsenal - The Memory Bank - One Helluva

Reader Comments (1)

Always good to hear how fans become Gooners Alan, hopefully the surly looks will soon be
a thing of the past. I supported that Dutch team at that World Cup, amazing thing was they
went out to Brazil and in the previous WC USA 94 it was Brazil I supported when they beat
the Dutch 3-2 I think. Anyway hope you have made it to a game over here and if not then soon.

P.S Those De Boer twins were something else, dunno if it's a false memory but didn't one of them
miss a crucial penalty against Brazil in 98 and the other gave out to him or shot him a dirty look.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBarry from Ireland
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