“The remarkable thing we have is a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”

— Charles R. Swindol

2006 FA Cup Final

“When you walk through a storm
hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho’ your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone”

Those of you who were around reading my rambles back in 2004 would remember my excitement before going to see Liverpool FC play live for the first time in my life.

Many of you who talked to me afterwards would remember that while I had a good time, I was disappointed by the atmosphere and the lack of real crowd participation. C’mon, that’s 50% of the fun at a match… right? Just as going to a concert without any crowd participation would not be any more special than watching it on television.

Fast-forward to May 13, 2006 and I finally got to experience some of that crazy pandemonium that comes from watching a match with people who are just as passionate about your team as you are.

The 2006 FA Cup final was between Liverpool and West Ham. My brother was down for the weekend and so we trekked our way to downtown Toronto to watch the match at the pub that the Toronto chapter of the Official Supporters Club meets at.

Previously, we had only seen one match live at a pub (one of the 2005/2006 Merseyside Derbies) and it had been in the town where my parents live. And while it had been fun sitting in a room with five Liverpool fans and listening to the Everton fans in the room next door, it was nothing compared to this.

The match was to start at 10am, however the supporters’ site warned to come at around 8am in order to ensure you were able to get in.

So getting up at 5:30am without any complaints, the two of us got to the pub at 7:30am. At around 7:45am we headed in and were surprised to see that while the pub had looked dead from the outside, there were already at least 10 people seated and ready to go.

The two of us grabbed a booth facing the big screen and settled in. The pub was showing an FA Cup Classic Match featuring the 1977 match between Manchester Utd and Liverpool. It wasn’t a good match to show a bunch of Liverpool fans, although it was quite exciting to watch. As time passed, more and more supporters came in and the room got redder and redder. People were wearing jerseys and scarves, some where putting up supporting banners, and someone even brought in a replica of the FA Cup; it was packing in.

Just as the match was to start, the place was packed with people sitting and standing, and the excitement had built so much that we were all raring to go.

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