At first I used to take the piss and moan that I hated football and didn't want to watch it. Yet the more time passed in our relationship I realised how important it was to him. I started to watch the odd game - and sometimes it was alright but I never really wanted to watch it. I still found it fascinating how Tom could be so passionate about a bunch of men running about in a field. He would get so angry and annoyed if they lost, full on screaming at the TV. Tom comes across as a quiet, unassuming kind of guy - so I was always so shocked when I'd hear him yelling so loudly about football!
About a year ago Tom and I made an agreement. I would go and see Crystal Palace play a match if he read one fictional novel (I'm massively into books, so is Tom but always reads non-fiction). A year later and many, many novels later I had to live up to my side of the bargain and my Palace ticket was bought.
Tom's whole family love football. They've all supported Crystal Palace since they were kids as that was their local team and that's who their Dad and their Granddad before him had always supported. So yesterday, we headed up to Croydon and went along to Selhurst Park with Tom's Dad, his older brother and his little brother. Tom's family had been giving me grief about seeing Palace play for a long time so were all pretty excited about seeing how I'd react. Tom's Dad had even bought me a Crystal Palace scarf!
I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous. Massive crowds make me feel quite anxious but luckily because we were in the player's lounge it was absolutely fine.
So - what did I think? Well, I hate to admit it - but I absolutely loved it. Seeing so many people really rooting for a team - from young kids to old men - it was quite something. The energy from the crowd is amazing - and you can't help but get caught up in it.
|The Reynolds' clan|
What made my first football match so special has to be Tom's family. They are all lovely people anyway - and I already feel part of their family - but I think going along to see Palace actually kind of cemented that. It's a massive part of who they are - and inviting me into that somehow makes me even more part of the family. I'm not sure if that'll make sense to anyone else - but I guess it's like anything you feel passionate about; you want people to understand it and it feels great when they love it too.
It's also made me realise that it's unfair to judge something you know nothing about and so in future I'm going to try and be a little bit more open minded before I say I dislike something!