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Saturday
Nov052011

My Religion

BY JAIME KEEBLE / @jaime_rae

Faith – defined as the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Regardless of tangible proof or the opinion of anyone else – faith is (mostly) unwavering.  I am not religious in the conventional sense, but I do have a church, I do believe in something greater than the sum of its parts, I do hope my proverbial prayers are answered week in, week out, and I prove my faith by wearing an emblem for everyone to see, on my chest. The Cannon.

Arsenal is my religion. Like religion I inherited my faith from my parents - being brought up in a house where Arsenal is part of our history, living a stone’s throw from our house of worship, being baptised with my first home game at the tender age of two and a half (it was 1992, we were playing Man City and was – apparently - an incredibly dull game until Ian Wright scored the winner in the dying minutes) and being presented with my first proper shirt at eight with my name proudly printed on the back.

It is now deeply embedded in my life and my identity. Results can completely change my mood, and there are days where I wish I didn’t care, but I could never be blissfully ignorant in such a way, as much as I occasionally try to ‘not care’, it just does not work.

As a family we make the weekly pilgrimage to Ashburton Grove (previously to the dearly-missed Highbury), and after meeting friends at one of many fine beer-based establishments in the area, we, along with thousands of others, descend upon our house of worship in the hope of seeing miracles.

And I love the fact that we do see miracles being performed right in front of our eyes every week on the pitch – from the old gods of Bergkamp, Pires and Henry (they’re old to me – I’m only young!) to the new generation of Wilshere, Ramsey, Szczesny making stunning passes and gravity-defying saves.

Yes there are weeks where we see no miracles, and our faith is tested, sometimes to breaking point, and it is difficult to look beyond the mistakes (and even more difficult to watch the highlights), but we know that those miracles can happen and will happen again. Because our faith is in people – those eleven men out on the pitch, giving their all for us, the believers, the faithful, ironically the ones who will clap and cheer no matter what because that’s what faith is.

No they’re not perfect, but who are we to talk? If we don’t show our faith then those eleven men have nothing to fight for, no reason to perform miracles, no congregation to inspire. 

At the moment our faith is being tested and it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we will get there and it will get better…it will. After all, we are The Arsenal.

Reader Comments (3)

Well! To say that I am proud would be an understatement, and of course, I share and redouble the stirring remarks from my grand daughter. Beautifully put Jaime Rae.

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRick Jones

Hi,
I'm a friend of Ricks (grandad) also an ex-pat living in the States.
Rick sent me this link and I agree it is very well written and thoughtful
and from the heart showing a passion for your club.
For 7-8 years, prior to moving over here, myself and my daughter,
Sally (who is now still only 25) travelled every corner of the UK to watch our 'beloved' team
Fulham rise from the th 91st spot in the league to where they are now.
It is a form of religion and even after 10 years here I spend most match days watching a dodgy
stream on the internet (although there are a lot of English games on Fox Soccer here)
But as the wife says "it's only a game' but she is American !

Anyway, good luck to you, my second team in London and watch out on Boxing Day :0)
Roger

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Penycate

Gooner and Proud. Up the faith, up the arse!!

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterabhi
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