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Glimpses of Europe

Tube ride to Fulham Broadway

UNITED KINGDOM | Tuesday, 13 May 2014 | Views [329] | Scholarship Entry

I stood on the tube (the London subway) platform, wearing my Chelsea Football Club jersey, waiting for my train to Fulham Broadway. I was still unable to fully appreciate that I was going to watch my favorite football club play at their home stadium, Stamford Bridge.

To a football fan who, since high school, has been accustomed to waking up at 3 a.m. on a school night to watch a game on TV, even the idea of potentially watching at the stadium is unreal. But there I was in London, on my way to the stadium one rare sunny day. I was nervous that when people see what I was wearing, they might think I’m not a real fan but I just bought the jersey anyway, that women don’t know anything about football, that I should just be watching the game on TV. I imagined the away team’s fans appearing and cursing at me for being a Chelsea fan. So I hid my jersey under my coat and scarf.

About halfway there, more people in blue (Chelsea’s colour) started coming in, then more women wearing Chelsea scarves started filling the train. Before I knew it I was shoulder to shoulder in a train jammed with Chelsea fans in cobalt blue. I was confident enough to open the buttons of my coat. If only the train weren’t so packed and I had space, I would have gladly taken off my coat and let my jersey show.

I got to the stadium and it was popping. I sat in my seat, right between the away fans and the home fans, facing thousands of people chanting their hearts out. The kind Chelsea supporters with whom I exchanged smiles and a few words were the same people cursing and screaming at the top of their lungs at the away fans just two seats away from me.

At the 90th minute, I was agitated and expecting the imminent disappointment of the match ending with 0-0. This can’t be, I told myself. Lampard, I’ve been watching you since before I knew what alcohol was; Terry, I cried when you slipped during that penalty kick at the UEFA Champions League final a few years ago. I’ve come all the way here so please don’t disappoint me, and score. Four minutes later, one minute before the final whistle, Captain John Terry scored with an assist from Frank Lampard. It was a 1-0 win for Chelsea! I jumped and roared with the stadium and even high fived the security guard beside me.

I left the Bridge ecstatic, still in awe, speechless. On my way home, I wish it were warm enough to take off my coat so I could proudly sport my Lampard jersey. And here I am home writing this article, still in my jersey. Oh London.

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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