Football is A Universal Language – A short story of how we became friends

UNC Chapel Hill Campus, by Jack Transou, February 2020

It has been almost 3 months since I have contributed to anything on this site. School has taken up most of my time and committing myself to write weekly articles, let alone daily ones, has been an uphill task. Jack has tanked the workload well has consistently contributed to this platform, and I am thankful that he has kept this blog somewhat alive. Thankfully, the semester has finally ended, and I can focus on writing about football again – oh well, so I hoped.

Football has been on a standstill for a while now, a long while. I was certain that leagues would have resumed by now. Yet, as each week passes, the pandemic only seems to be intensifying. Even worse, leagues are legitimately considering pulling the plug on this season’s campaign. The Dutch Eredivisie got cancelled and very recently, so has the French Ligue 1. Now I’ll go over why this is a pressing issue for other leagues in another article but I’ll say this much for now: Life without football feels so empty. I do not watch every United game, nor do I keep up to date with the latest rumours. Still, being unable to catch up on new highlights nor tune in to any football over the weekends has made me feel incomplete.

Nevertheless, that does not mean there is nothing to write on. I have been away for a while now and many issues that I wanted to raise remain unsaid. Top of that list (of unsaid things) has got to be how jack and myself met in UNC, Chapel Hill. So I am taking this opportunity to share the tale of our friendship, one that is grounded on our love for football, beer, and military history.

2018 was the first time I set foot in the United States. Living in America was a dream come true, and studying for an academic year was indeed something I was extremely excited about. However, I had to look for a football kaki (a buddy to watch matches with), and I found no one to catch it with during my first semester. Sure, I met a few people who were fans of the sport and followed European teams, but it was in early 2019 when I met Jack Transou – someone who was as passionate, if not more, about the sport as I was. I knew I found the right Football kaki.

It couldn’t be sheer coincidence that we were in 2 classes together that semester and we saw each other in lecture every single day. Instead of paying attention to our lectures, we were busy watching football matches. Jack will argue against this – he would probably say he paid attention to the lecturers AND watched the matches. Living in Singapore, I did not have the luxury of watching a lot of games when most games were late at night or in the wee hours of the morning. So, you can imagine how great it felt to conveniently watch games in the middle of the day.

If it weren’t during lectures, we’d hop over to Four Corners to catch Champions League matches. It was ritual for us to grab a bucket of beer and some cheese fries with bacon bits every game. By far the best experience I had was seeing my beloved Manchester United during their Champions League Round of 16 clash with PSG (or as Jack puts it, the Qatari overlords of Paris). United came from behind and won 3-1 in the away leg of that tantalizing fixture. Seeing Marcus Rashford score that Penalty is still unbelievable, considering how dreadful that United team was.

Jack once touted the idea of writing a football blog to me. I remember this happened when we were eating lunch at the bottom of Lenoir Dining Hall (something we routinely did after lecture every Tuesday and Thursday). I didn’t think it would ever materialize, but a few months later, SocckerKakis was born. Jack and I may be thousands of miles apart, but we remain connected through this blog. It is a platform for us to air our views but also an outlet for us to grow our unique friendship.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: