Why Czech? I asked.
“My parents come form Czech Republic.”
Matthew is very busy, so our conversation was very brief, but he was kind enough to stop for a moment so I could take a photograph. Ne doesn’t follow soccer much, he said, but major tournaments catch his attention. Finally, I got to meet someone wearing a jersey of a team (club or national) from Eastern Europe.
Why PSG? I asked.
“That’s my home team.”
Olivier came from Paris just a few days ago to spend some time with his cousin Nicolas, and his nephew Noah. I asked if he is considering staying in Montreal and he replied, with a grin, how Nicolas is trying to talk him into it. The family dress code is obvious and Noah looks awesome in his PSG shirt. I don’t take photographs of children for this blog but, after I took photos of both Nicolas and Olivier, Noah simply stepped away from them and made it clear he expected his photo taken. I could not resist, who could?
Why PSG? I asked.
“That’s where I come from.”
What a thrill to run into a group of people, on a busy Montreal street, all wearing Paris Saint-Germain shirts as if they are going to the game to Parc des Princes. Only Parc des Princes is a few thousand kilometers away. Nicolas came to live in Montreal in 1995 but has never lost his sentiments for his team and the game. His jersey is signed by Pauleta, he told me while pointing at the signature.
Here I was standing in front of him, his son Noah and his cousin Olivier (close-up of him in the the next post) who just came to visit from France. As I was taking photos of them (in my Liverpool jersey), on a busiest street in the city, I was aware of all the strange looks from the crowd. We are strange, I though, we deserve it.
Why Gremio? I asked.
“That’s my home team.”
Today I got to face my first rejection. It was from a young man wearing Arsenal shirt. We actually had a nice chat, talked about today’s news and Sir Alex Ferguson retiring, but he would not want me to photograph him. Some future Arsenal fans, that I’ll meet, better make it up for this guy. Refusing to participate in this project brings a bad, bad luck on your club. Don’t be surprised if Arsenal doesn’t qualify for the Champions League.
Rejected, I continued my walk and as I was passing by a footwear store, I spotted a guy in a jersey shopping inside. I waited on the curb and it took a while before Otavio, and a friend (girlfriend, wife, sister… I’ll never know since I never asked), came out of the store. Conversation was brief but he was happy to stand before the camera. They are visiting from Brazil, only a couple of days to spend in Montreal, and I’m happy I was there to meet them. Here I welcome the very first Brazilian club shirt on this blog.
Why Chelsea? I asked.
“My uncle lived in England in the 80′s and became a fan. So it’s in the family now.”
Agonizingly long winter is finally over and the time has come for football/soccer fans to come out in their jerseys. So today I walked my dog, the camera in my bag, wearing my LFC shirt only. I was walking by a group of young man when one of them, wearing Impact shirt, gestured ‘thumbs down’ towards me. He was obviously commenting on my jersey so I approached him to see how could I help the poor soul. Only when I came closer I noticed he is also wearing Chelsea shorts. That explains it, I though, no help.
Born in Montreal, Nick is Chelsea fan by chance (his uncle could have fallen in love with any other club while in England) but he likes Montreal Impact too. Football identities on this continent are complicated. He went to watch Impact game, live, only once, but ‘now that they are in MLS’ he plans to go more often.
Why PSG? I asked.
“That’s my heart club. I come from Paris.”
When I moved to Montreal 13 years ago one of the first people I met was my neighbour who came from Toulouse. After I had told him that I come from Sarajevo he started screaming “Safet Susic, Safet Susic!!!” and dribbling an imaginary ball. Only then I realized how big of a player ‘Pape’ was in France and the mark he left in Paris Saint-Germain. So much that in 2010 he was voted PSG’s best player of all time by French sport magazine France Football ’s readers. Fabrice, just like my neighbour, came from France. He studies Fashion Marketing and he looks like he does. He loves another player whose roots are (partially) from Bosnia and Herzegovina and who’s just joined PSG, Zlatan Ibrahimović. ‘Ibra’ started the season well but I’m not sure he has what it takes to shadow Pape’s reputation among PSG fans.
Why Brasil? I asked.
“I have the shirt for a long time and just decided to wear it today.”
I saw him at the ATM inside the bank and waited patiently outside. Darren, just like every other person in a soccer shirt, was happy to have his photograph taken. He came from Ontario to study in Montreal. He told me how he bought the jersey during the 2004 World Cup but doesn’t wear it often. Neither is he a huge soccer follower. Darren would like to find Trinidad jersey though, since that’s where his parents come from, but no luck yet. Or maybe he’s not looking hard enough.
Why Atletico? I asked.
“Because Falcao plays there.”
David is Colombian. I met him as he was running home to watch Colombia-Urugway WC qualifier. He came to Montreal to study Art and Literature at Lassale college. He’s hoping to get into Concordia’s art program next year. We had a short rant about Real Madrid as he was unhappy that Real gets all the attention while ‘not many people know about Atletico.’ But Atletico is doing just fine, winning 2012 Europa Super cup just a few weeks ago. It was very entertaining to watch as they demolished Chelsea, while Radamel Falcao García Zárate, simply know as Falcao, scored 3 goals.
Why Bayern Munich? I asked.
“I love Bayern.”
He was sitting on a bench with two friends, a cup of Tim Hortons’ coffee in his hand. It looked as if this is his daily routine but Mohammed came to Montreal, from Jordan, only two days ago. He will be studying engineering at the Concordia University. That Tim Hortons’ might have been his first ever, I thought. I remember my first and it tasted awful. One gets used to it though. He has never lived in Germany but he didn’t feel that his support for Bayern needs any justification, or obvious links I was inquiring about. He simply loves the club. Mohammed tells me how everyone in Jordan is crazy about football. Just like me and most of my friends, I thought.
Why Norwich? I asked.
”I come from over there.”
At the same event where I met Dan, I saw Christian as he was pulling a blue shirt over his jersey. He was kind enough to reverse the action so I can photograph him. He came to the New York City 6 years ago but his passion for the home team does not diminish with time. He told me how Holt is the heartbeat of his team. Yesterday, inevitably, as Norwich City was trashed by Fulham in the season opener, I was thinking of Christian. For those interested in stats, Holt ‘the heartbeat’ played 76min and managed to commit one foul.