Where to begin???
Short Answer: South Africa 2010.
Long Answer: I'm making up for lost time!!! I'm almost 40 and have not really given football the time of day since elementary school. I didn't read about it, I didn't watch it. I just did not care for it. Period. Like every other NHL/NFL/UFC fan you've ever met, I heaped scorn on the beautiful game. I saw 'sissy' players falling down at the slightest touch. I saw a lot of kicking a ball but not much scoring. The usual stuff you've run into countless times.
Then in the week just before South Africa 2010, for some reason, I decided to give the game a fresh look. I felt as though I hadn't really given the game a fair chance, so I decided to figure out why so many are so passionate about football? Why is it the global game? Why is it considered 'beautiful'?
So I read and I watched.
I figured out that the beauty of the game comes for what I thought was once boring.... the fluid adjusting and then readjusting of tactics and formations. I figured out that while there isn't much scoring, the goals, when they happen, are HUGE! And even though I still hate to see it, I figured out why the diving happens, and that it is considered dirty play.
Now I tell people that if Sean Avery or Darcy Tucker played football, they'd be the ones diving at the slightest touch.
Now I can appreciate that a 0-0 draw can be exciting.
But most of all, now I appreciate that there are no commercial breaks. I haven't been able to watch the NFL this season. When I turn it on, it's slow and boring and there are too many stoppages, so I turn it off.
So I'm a new fan, discovering the game for the first time. I want to support my team (TFC!!!) and my country, and through my journey's on the web I found the Voyageurs and said, "I want to be part of that!"
PS - Can't cheer for Canadian Men's hockey... I can't get behind a team that is expected to win gold every time because you are setting yourself up for disappointment when they lose. The Canadian MNT however... safe to say they aren't going to win the WC anytime soon, and for me that works just fine. I like backing the underdog!
PPS - Looking forward to earning some 'Caps' myself... hopefully the MNT will play a game in NB next year (even though I really think they should play down at King George V in St. John's since it'll be 25 years since they last qualified), and if Halifax hosts some Women's World Cup games, I'll be there as well.