What is

 

What is football?

Is it the tribalism? The identity that's forged over generations at home and on our travels? Being with friends, having a beer and sharing emotive ecstasy with complete strangers in the away end, in the pouring rain? 

Is it the immersion in the football witnessed? The traditions? Socks rolled down, shirts tucked out? The style and artistic endeavours of the players that represent the badge and ultimately us, the supporters? 

Is it the moments? Harry Kane curling an absolute storming goal against the scum at the Lane? The delirium that follows on and off the pitch? In that single moment, in isolation, regardless of the before and after...is this football?

Is it the result? The plaudits? The association with winning that allows you to brag? The pride of achievement that's tangible enough to make it impossible for rival fans to ignore?

Is dreaming about the bigger prize more important than winning the smaller ones?

Is it crowning glory because history remembers the colour of the ribbons on the silverware? Is this the pinnacle? Is this the peak of fandom? Where the entire day is one that lives forever in memory, where you watch your team solidify their season and honour themselves and the fans.

Is this football?

Is it the journey? Is it greater than arriving at the destination? Living every kick of the ball? Is it the tension and pressure and desire to find a way no matter what, binding all together? The evolution and the revolution? 

Is it the disappointment? The reflection? In failure, is it the redemption and revenge we seek? Is it not being able to accept the colours of the ribbon on the silverware because they're not ours?

Is the bad days because they make the good days feel better?

Is it the rival club and their fans? The fronting? The face offs? The chanting and singing? The police horses and sniffer dogs? The tension and electricity? Is it defining one's love by the hatred of others? Is this football?

Is it being a yid? 

Is it an undeniable bloodline? Handing the baton onto your kids? The club choosing you rather than you choosing the club?

Is it the hope? The adrenaline? The belief? The impossible?

Is it the realisation that everything has come together perfectly? Is it the self-doubt and pessimism that it will all fall apart?

Is it to dare? To go against the grain? To go again? To always go again?

Is it fearlessness? Is it a fighting spirit?

Is it an absolute acceptance that nothing else matters more?

Is it a religion? A distraction? An escapism?

Is it a conduit for primal energy? A second life away from the constraints of the first one we're conditioned to live? A glorious release from modern society holding back our freedom to be completely raw with expression?

Is it to stand rather than sit?

Is this football?

Is it simply belonging, no matter the team no matter the players no matter the league?

Is it simply Tottenham Hotspur regardless of everything and because of it all?

What is football?