19 Sep Over Land & Sea
Over Land and Sea (and Baltimore!)
Where I live, other Chelsea fans are hard to come by. (Everyone seems to be a Man U fan in these parts, sad to say.) Sure, I’ll see the occasional jersey at the pub on match day, but that’s about it. So to be in Baltimore—at Pratt Street Ale House, the Sheraton, Pickle’s Pub and the stadium—surrounded by thousands of Blue shirts from all over the world was incredible. It felt like a home away from home, filled with distant friends and family.
It’s been close to a week since the game, and still I can’t stop thinking about it. The extemporaneous bursts of song—at the pub, at the pool, wherever. (I’m still having dreams about singing!) The march to the stadium passing out Chelsea gear to the kids and chanting “Who are ya?” at every Rossineri we came by. The way the stands erupted when Didier scored that first goal. And again at Zhirkov’s goal. Putting faces to the names I see on the board every day—Crowtrobot, Carolinablue and a whole host of others. Not just meeting Tommy Langley, Steve Finnieston and Neil Barret, but walking with them to the meet-and-greet.
But there’s one thing that sticks in my mind above all else. When my wife and I and a few others got back from the (disastrous) autograph session, a little upset we didn’t get to meet the lads, Chris Axon stopped by our table and said something I’ll never forget.
“The guys on the team are all great, but they’ll be gone some day. But Chelsea, mate, Chelsea’ll be here forever.”*
Right on. I’ll be keeping the Blue Flag flying high in my neck of the woods, counting down the days until the next American tour—and all the many exciting years of Chelsea still to come.
“Carefree, wherever you may be,
We are the famous CFC…”
*This is paraphrased, of course—I’d had a few pints of the Chelsea ale by then.