England made me sad yesterday; they've done it before, they'll do it again. They did it in the worst possible way (their specialty), trailing Uruguay for most of the game and waking up abut 70 minutes in, equalizing in to give me a hint of hope, and then losing the match (and, barring miracles, exiting the World Cup at the group stage) in its last heartbreaking minutes.
I watched the game perched on a swivel chair in the Atlantic Media's offices, groaning like creaky furniture at every Uruguay near-miss and every weakly-hit England shot, and when it was over, I trudged back to my desk and was offered a prank "snake in a can" of Pringles by my mischievous co-worker Joe Reid. I opened it, the snake shot into my face, and I had no reaction at all. That's the good thing about rooting for England—it deadens you to all other catastrophes. [EDITOR'S NOTE: In my defense, I'm a huge jerk. And the snake-in-a-can was just sitting there. — JR]
I was born in New York but moved to London in 1995 at the age of nine, and the first thing I noticed at the local primary school I attended was that everyone furiously swapped football stickers and asked me “who I supported.” I quickly main-lined football as the quickest way to assimilate into the culture, branded by my peers as an Arsenal fan, and the next summer followed the 1996 European Championships, hosted in England, with the religious fervor required. England’s past glories (the 1966 World Cup win) and many tragedies (the Hand of God goal, the 1990 World Cup semi-final exit on penalties, our failure to even qualify for the ’94 cup in America) just practiced bits of history I had learned. To really forge my fandom, I had to feel the hurt for myself.