I wonder sometimes why anyone would follow me on Twitter. (Hint: You should.) It seems most Twitter accounts have a clear focus – someone’s business, or their personal life, or a football team and so on.
Of course, I’m a Deep Generalist on a mission to make that an exciting life choice for more people. And this means my Twitter account is … all of me. Come for the valuable business links and chat … stay for the bad jokes … and then, at seemingly random times, watch as my feed is overtaken by my views on a very specific sporting match.
Let me tell you about the sports teams I’m most passionate about.
Brisbane Broncos (Australian Rugby Leage)
Growing up in a northern state down under, Rugby League was the game of choice. (I’ve tried with AFL – but I’m sorry, catching the ball should be a standard expectation not a reward, and who gets a bonus point for only narrowly missing the goal?!)
At about 6 or 7, the age kids start properly paying attention to sport, my family moved from Brisbane, Queensland to Murwillumbah, New South Wales … which I didn’t really appreciate. So my first rugby league team in the ‘NSWRL’ competition was the Canberra Raiders, since they were the only team playing who weren’t from NSW!
Shortly thereafter, in 1988 the Brisbane Broncos joined the competition. I had torn loyalties, especially given the dominant Raiders side in 1989-1991, but was a convert by the time the Broncs won their first title in ’92 on the way to being the best side of the 1990s and 2000s.
Our former home (now our investment property), has a gouge in the ceiling from the 2006 Preliminary Final, when I jumped so high at the winning try. That was probably the greatest game the Broncos ever played.
Manchester United (English Premier League)
For all the rugby league banter, I grew up in a football family – my dad (a Chelsea fan) was born in London, so the weekly English football show on SBS was regular viewing; and my uncle JJ was a super-mad Liverpool fan (still is) so I remember his walls being covered in football paraphernalia when we visited as kids.
In about Year 3 (1990) I was chatting football with a kid the grade above me, and he told me the story of the Munich disaster #FlowersOfManchester. How half the Manchester United team had died in a plane crash, and yet they had rebuilt and became the first English side to win the European Championship just ten years later.
That was the moment I became a Man United fan. (Interestingly, his favourite player was Teddy Sheringham so he ended up being a Tottenham supporter; but of course Teddy ultimately played a pivotal role in our 1999 Treble.)
It was a wise move, as United went on the become a ridiculously successful side. Of all the amazing things my beautiful wife has given me, scoring us free corporate tickets to a game at Old Trafford is high up on the list.
At this point you may be noticing a trend, testing my loyalty as the highly successful teams of my formative years have reverted somewhat to the mean.
Cardiff City (English Football League Championship)
As the 1990s progressed, and the United juggernaut became a bandwagon, I thought I would find a team in the lower tiers of English football to support as well. I flicked through the standings in the newspaper, eventually settling on Cardiff because (1) I have some Welsh ancestry, and (2) I assumed their jersey would be red.
(This was before we had the internet at boarding school; it was only years later I learned they were nicknamed the Bluebirds and it wasn’t an ironic reference to their jersey.)
At the time, Cardiff were middle of the Third Division. The only way I could follow them was reading the fine print in the newspaper each week – nobody ever wrote a story for an Australian paper about how Cardiff went on the weekend.
And yet, slowly and excitingly, I was able to watch their progress over the years – up to the First Division (now the Championship) and most excitingly winning the Championship (the same year United last won the EPL) for promotion to the Premier League.
Naturally, I’ve also been out to see Cardiff City play live. On the few occasions they’ve met United in the Premier League my allegiances have been torn – the last game of the 2018/19 season loomed as particularly tricky, but was sadly irrelevant as relegation and sixth place were both secured.
Queenslander (Pretty Much Anything!)
Definitely the game that drives my emotions the most is Rugby League’s State of Origin, where I am a one-eyed Queensland fan. This dates back to that fateful move to New South Wales, where I was often the only Cane Toad in my class and so I dug my heels in and proudly waved the Maroon.
Living in London, I would rearrange my work schedule around the mid-morning Origin games; and my beautiful wife is well aware of the impact a win or a loss here has on my moods (only for a month or two).
I view myself as a Citizen of the World, not tied to any particular geography. But I really do hope I am ultimately interred (with a nice headstone) somewhere between Coolangatta and Cape York.
At any point in time, you may see me weirdly invested in the Queensland Firebirds Netball, the Brisbane Heat Big Bash Cricket, the Brisbane Roar, the Queensland Reds, the Brisbane Lions and so on.
Australia’s National Sporting Teams
Despite my dual citizenship, I’m an Australian fan first and foremost. The Socceroos, The Matildas, The Opals, The Diamonds, The Kangaroos, and of course the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Heck, I even support the Wallabies (I was there live the night Johnny Wilkinson broke our hearts).
UK National Sporting Teams
The other part of my dual citizenship makes for some split personalities. I will cheer for the English Football Team at the European Championships and the World Cup (once Australia has exited) – this is a hangover from my youth, when Australia never qualified for the big show and so being disappointed by England was my way of feeling involved.
Whenever the UK is split into its constituents, though, I will normally back Wales (in the Six Nations for example) as that’s my most recent UK heritage.
And nobody likes to see England win at cricket.
Some Other Preferences
You won’t see me mention these often, but they’re a nice way to feel involved in some competitions I don’t really track closely. I track the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, mostly because I’m a big fan of beer, and they led me to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA; Real Sociedad in La Liga; FC United of Manchester in the lowest levels of English professional football; and of course the underdog in any random sporting contest.
I won’t gamble on two flies climbing a wall … but I’ll definitely get emotionally invested in the outcome. And share my thoughts on Twitter. #YoureWelcome