I was involved in a conversation today regarding relocation and stated that if the team was relocated that it would probably be the end for me as an NRL supporter as I would lose my connection/ attachment to the club. The person I was speaking with rightly raised what is my connection to the club as I never lived in any of the catchment areas that make up this club. It got me thinking about why I am connected to this club in such a strong way and I would be interested in hearing about other people’s connections as well.
For me it started when I was 4 years old, I grew up in country NSW and my father played for the local team, the Aberdeen Tigers. I remember going home and seeing the Balmain Tigers play on TV and thinking that they were the same team my father played for because of the same jerseys.
That bond was strengthen when I started playing for the Aberdeen Tigers as a 6 year old, always wanted the 8 jersey because that was what Wayne Pearce played in. The 88 and 89 sides came and went and that again strengthened that connection. The 90’s were tough and thought about changing teams like my brothers did but just could never bring myself to do it. I moved to Sydney in 1998 and started to semi regularly attend games
The end in 1999 hurt so much and I swore to myself that footy was dead to me. My then GF, now wife, knew how much footy meant to me and for Christmas in 1999 bought me season tickets to Wests Tigers 1st season and that brought me home again.
Now why do I have such an attachment to the location of a team that I never lived within the boundaries of?
For me it goes back to when I was a kid living in a small town with that true sense of community, I knew the whole town, I knew the local footy heroes and that is what this club now does for me I go to the games and I see people I have sat near for 20 years, seen them get older, lots now have kids and have started bringing their kids to games. I feel a part of the club, I feel like a part of the club, Benji and Robbie for example, I have known them since they were kids, not personally but as representatives of our club. I funny example is back in January I saw Robbie randomly in Bondi, I had no Tigers gear on but he saw me and come over and said hello and chatted about the preseason for a minute or 2. He doesn’t really know me but has seen me enough at team events over the years to know that I am a Tigers supporter. That is the connection I want and need with my club and it goes back to as a kid knowing all the local footballers in town. That is why I feel about this team the way I do!