Going to start of with a disclaimer. I’m a nerd, and I really like sports. In recent years I’ve learned that that is not a rare combination, in fact a lot of nerds like sports. So much so that a bunch of nerds got together and helped AFC Wimbledon with a massive outpouring of support.
For those not in the know, the short (and heavily biased) story is that Wimbledon had a team with a lot of history and culture. Someone bought it and decided “Fuck all that, I’m moving the team.” A lot of supporters were heart broken. So much so that they banded together, put some money up, and remade their team from scratch. That team is AFC Wimbledon and though I am neither a fan nor a supporter of theirs, I just like what they’ve done.
In recent memory, writer/nerd John Green was playing FIFA and was managing this team, which is high enough in the English pyramid to actually be a selectable team on FIFA, which if we are fair is every team’s dream. John Green and his brother Hank have a large (and highly loyal) group of fans collectively referred to as “Nerdfighteria.”
Personally, I am a casual listener to the Green brothers and don’t consider myself a “nerd fighter.” From my few interactions with other nerd fighters you’d think this is a blasphemy, but I don’t like other people labeling me.
Anyway, I digress, Nerdfighteria has done a lot of great things and I like seeing them succeed. I like that they’ve chosen to side with supporters and fans in helping preserve the Dons. I think they are on the right side of history with this, they often are. However, I am actually slightly miffed by all of this and that is why I am calling out John Green and Nerdfighteria.
Guys, guys… I’m so glad you’ve fought for the little guy. But it pisses me off that you’ll send thousands of dollars over to England and then seemingly ignore teams in the very same position over here in the United States. There is so much more to the sport over here. So many teams that are left ignored, unloved, unwanted. You turn your backs on them to write out cheques to send over to England for what?
A team you tangentially “support” via FIFA? Why? Why do you help a team so far away when so many other teams all around you are crying out and dying hoping to get just a handful of people to care. Teams with a passionate crowd that is lacking in the size department. FC Buffalo, the Cincinnati Saints, next year could see the end of the Atlanta Silverbacks to the exact same scenario as Wimbledon.
Where are all the Nerd fighters there? Where’s all the support for Atlanta? Fuck it. Can’t look all cool and hip supporting Atlanta. Gotta jump on the Dons bandwagon, I guess.
It honestly makes me sick. It just seems so disingenuous.
It would take five. whole. seconds. on wikipedia to find an NPSL team near you. I’m even going to walk you through what you need to do to support an NPSL team. Trust me, it is easy.
- Find a team. See, we’re already that far. It took five seconds, remember?
- Talk to their FO. Be upfront, be honest, be willing to work with them, but don’t compromise. If they complain, point to Detroit City. They won’t admit it, but every FO wants to be DCFC’s FO.
- Make some banners, buy some smoke bombs (this is America, it isn’t hard). Get a drum on craig’s list. KNOW HOW TO KEEP A RHYTHM.
- Buy a megaphone.
- Wear something silly/cool. It’ll always be both.
- Get some other people together. Its Nerdfighteria, you can do it.
- Come up with a sweet name and a good logo. Don’t feel you have to do it yourself. Talk to people like the NGS’ Sergeant Scary
- If you aren’t rude, people will help. But don’t brown nose. Have some spine, especially publicly. Make fun of other teams.
- Make a twitter account.
- Follow other Ultras groups on twitter. (By the way, you’re an Ultra now, deal with it.)
- NEVER MISS A GAME. SOMEONE ALWAYS HAS TO BE THERE.
- NEVER STOP SINGING. NEVER SIT DOWN.
It’s really easy. It just means actually having the gall to be the fan the team deserves. It means that you’ll have to do more than cut a cheque. You’ll have to spend money, time, effort, sweat, blood; all those things that don’t come easy. And you’ll only get back what you put into it.
But let me tell you something. The look on the face of that player, when after a bad game, he looks up and there are 10, 20, 5,000 people who do not give a fuck. Who are there to cheer regardless. The pain melts away. You can see it.
And when they score, if no one is there, who do they run to? Who do they cheer with?
Photo: Detroit City
They need you. They need you.
So while I’m thankful that you’ve supported the Dons, for all they stand for in the face of homogeneous sports events, don’t ignore the home front. Don’t ignore the war on soccer culture that is being waged right here in our own backyards.
AFC Wimbledon is a great success story, but like pandas for the WWF, we cannot ignore the rough and ugly in favor of everyone’s favorite poster child.
So get out there. Do what you can for as long as you can do it. I hate to say it, but “big soccer” is coming for us. They are looking to end it all.
Fight and don’t forget to be awesome.
Photo: Michael Kitchen
Pictures casually lifted from the Detroit City page and the NGS facebook page. Looking for photo credits now.