12 Days of Something IV: Ipswich Town and Hidden Power Levels

This was a long time ago and I once thought it could be a regular fixture.
This was a long time ago and I once thought it could be a regular fixture.

I’m a person who is generally in two different camps of fandom. For most people in the anime group, I think that ends up being anime and some form of gaming. For me seeing as the title of this blog is Lower Mid-Table, that has always been anime and football of the association variety. (Note: I generally just call it football on my own, but I let context of conversation determine whether I go for soccer or not. I’m not against calling it soccer by any means.) I’m going to date myself very heavily here and say that I really started getting into it around the turn of the millennium.

One of the things that really makes someone get into this particular sport is to pick a team. The English Premier League was about the only league that even had a highlights package airing in the US at the time, while MLS games at the time were played in sparsely attended giant stadiums with the exception of Columbus. With newly-promoted Ipswich Town  putting up a challenge for a Champions League place in 2000-01, they seemed like a fun team to choose. How I sometimes wish I had chosen differently!

What followed the next season was a few rounds in the then UEFA Cup, getting knocked out by Inter Milan, and ending the season in the bottom three. But you know what, I was invested in this fandom enough to want to really be involved anyway. Reading about winning the title in the club’s first ever season in the top flight, the FA and UEFA Cup wins, even being on the wrong end of the biggest defeat in the Premier League were facts I had to absorb.

All in all, it’s proven to be a decent conversation starter with people I’ve met from or in the UK, or why there would be a person at an anime convention wearing an Ipswich Town shirt. As the sport has become more popular over here, it’s become much easier to talk about with every day people. Being supported by major broadcasters at times of the day when people are normally wake helps with that thing. The only point of embarrassment that comes from talking about my own fandom is mentioning that the club I support has been stuck in the second tier for 13 years and having to explain promotion and relegation to some groups of new American supporters of clubs that will never be in danger of not playing in the Premier League.

In contrast, there’s anime fandom. One must always suppress power levels or whatever that bullshit is called. At least in the US, I would safely say that more people watch some anime than watch any soccer. Yet, the idea of liking it has this perception that it must be carefully revealed only to other fans. There’s at least 2.5% of the population here that is staying up late on Saturday nights to watch, but it seems to be stuck in only willing to be underground.

I say all of this because I really just want to be able to express who I really am in public. I don’t think the consequences of doing so will be terrible other than possibly losing my job, but even if that wasn’t a problem I probably would keep it hidden. It shouldn’t just be a realm of socially isolated college students and dicks who harass people on Twitter. I would like it more mainstream, that’s all.

4 thoughts on “12 Days of Something IV: Ipswich Town and Hidden Power Levels”

  1. It’s strange how this works out. I kind of have a double whammy with anime and pro wrestling, though I think the public perception of wrestling is slightly less … gross and weird than anime, even though most of the anime I watch embarrass me less than whatever is on Raw every Monday lol.

    1. Yeah, but a lot of it is just watching pro wrestling ironically. Like knowing how NXT is the superior product to the main roster then still watching the PPVs anyway. Maybe that’s more hate watching than actual irony. At least we can try to laugh at how LOL CENA WINS is still a step up from seeing next month’s match where it will end up being a “John Cena wins” match.

  2. I think there’s a big gap between American interest in soccer as a spectator sport versus American interest in anime as a form of entertainment. I mean more people play soccer as a part of their middle or high school curriculum than people who watch anime in the USA, for sure. So familiarity with the sport is never a problem.

    With anime you kind of have to start with undefining it first half the time, since it’s associated with ultra-graphical violence and pornography for some people. For Gen Ys it’s no problemo thanks to Pokemon and Video Games. Actually I would go that far–if your coworkers are under the age of 30, they know anime enough to make your analogy.

    1. That age thing is definitely a bit of an issue. It’s fair to say that I’m probably the only person who qualifies as a millenial at work, hence, one of the reasons why I’m considering my options now. At least anime doesn’t have dozens of columnists in papers with huge circulations saying that people shouldn’t watch anime. That’s a bit of a plus.

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