I have been a footballer (translated into 'Merican: soccer player) since I was 11. It's a wonderful sport to play and watch, and I love it so much I still play at least twice a week, sometimes more. I will play as long as my body can keep pace with my desire.
Moments ago, Leicester City Football Club became the champions of the Barclays Premier League, England's top professional league. They were 5001-to-1 odds to accomplish this feat at the beginning of the season. Last season, they had just been promoted into the Premier League, and spent most of the season at the bottom of the table (standings), and would have been relegated (demoted) if they had not gone on an improbable late season run that kept them out of the relegation zone and in the league.
Imagine if MLB demoted the 3 or 4 worst teams each season, and promoted an equal number of AAA teams to take their place. That's the best comparison I can make to paint a fairly accurate picture of the relegation/promotion system. So take my beloved and beleaguered Seattle Mariners for example. They've had some lean seasons before. Imagine them being demoted to AAA, playing well enough to claw back into MLB, play well enough to just barely stay in the big leagues, and then win the World Series the following year. Impossible, improbable, unlikely, take your pick. But it could happen!
In 1998-1999, Manchester United won their famous treble, taking home the Premier League title, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League crown. Their keeper was Danish legend Peter Schmeichel. My friend Phil and I were along for the ride, watching the games and taking it all in. As a brother goalkeeper, I tend to get attached to teams based on their keepers. But I never hitched my wagon to United, or any other team. I guess I cheered for teams that had American born players in net (Kasey Keller, Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, etc.). But in 2014 I discovered that Kasper Schmeichel, the son of Peter the Great, was playing for Leicester, so I decided it was time to pick my Premier League team, and it was the Foxes of Leicester.
Their run at the end of the 2014-2015 season was fun to watch, if more than a bit nerve-wracking. But who would have thought LCFC would fire their manager who guided them to the Premier League and then to safety, and bring aboard a nice but not hugely successful Claudio Ranieri and then go on to win first place in the BPL? Not me, and pretty much not anyone else in the football world.
So congratulations to mighty Leicester, who dared to dream big and had the skill, courage, and spirit to see that dream become reality. Fearless, indeed.