I’ve been following Real Madrid for almost 10 years now and have been a huge fan for about 7 or 8 of those years. For all those years, though, I only remember one instance when I was this nervous: the last match of the 2006-2007 season where we clinched the title. But that was one match, and I was still in the early days of my fandom.
This time around, it’s a string of three matches over eight days, with two potential trophies at stake. Oh, and did I mention the matches were against our bitter European rival Bayern Munich and, oh, this team called FC BARCELONA?
My football hell week, is what I call it.
I didn’t even feel this nervous last year, when we played FOUR El Clásicos over an 18 day period. There were two titles at stake then, too and the media circus was even crazier. But last year, I didn’t feel like throwing up every time I thought about the upcoming matches for too long. My stomach didn’t do somersaults every time I think of the possibility of Madrid not winning anything this season.
And when I say I feel like throwing up, that’s not just a metaphor for how nervous I am. No. I actually, physically feel like I’m going to lose my lunch all over my office desk (ewwwww, I know). I actually have to will myself to stop thinking about Real Madrid to stop the butterflies from wreaking havoc in my stomach.
My love for Madrid has always tortured me emotionally, but now, my fandom is actually manifesting itself physically. And I can’t put a finger on why this particular set of matches is torturing me so. Perhaps, it has to do with the fact that just a month ago, we were leading Barcelona by 10 points in the league and that lead has since been reduced to 4 points. Maybe, it’s because I know that the league title is ours to lose and that, God forbid, if we do lose it, it will be no one’s fault but ours. It could also be that our dismal record against Barcelona in recent years has finally caught up to me, and I can no longer muster the positivity. As for the Champions League, maybe I’m scared as hell because Ribery, Robben and co. are the first serious opposition we’ve come up against (no offense to Apoel). Maybe, what’s getting to me is that nagging fear that my team, who have run rampant in Spain (apart from the recent slip ups and Barcelona, of course) and in Europe, who have been breaking records left and right, might just not be good enough to bring home those titles (goodness me, typing that down felt blasphemous).
Or, maybe, I’m just going crazy.
The thing is, though, I am grateful for this turmoil. Well, not exactly the turmoil itself, but the opportunity to feel it. Surely, Arsenal/Milan/Liverpool/Sevilla/Manchester United fans would give anything to be in my position. My team is leading its domestic league AND one match away from the Champions League final. I would rather go through this emotional roller coaster than be calmly sitting at home, pointlessly rooting for a team with nothing to fight for.
Yeah, I think that paragraph just confirmed that I am going nutso.
Be that as it may… Always and forever, Hala Madrid!
Photo from the Real Madrid Facebook page