I use football as an example because it is the first sport I got hooked on. The day I received my first ever football kit was undoubtedly a special one. It was Liverpool and to this day I am not completely sure why. The person who gave it to me, my godfather, is a Leeds fan and even then the team I may have felt any sort of allegiance to as a fervent 3 year old would have been Chelsea due to our close(ish) living proximity to Stamford Bridge.
How things changed though!! Within a couple of years my family had moved to Suffolk and I had been to my first ever football match. A game played between Ipswich Town and Oxford United (I think), such is my hazy memory. Don't even think about asking me what the score was! But from that moment on Ipswich was our club, our team. I was to be brought up on a diet of Richard Wright, Titus Bramble, Matty Holland and Marcus Stewart. We have been season ticket holders at Portman Road since 1999 and in our first year of going to matches Ipswich got promoted. Our brief stay in the Premiership (2 years) and a couple of Thursday night European matches (including a 1-0 victory over Inter Milan) now seem a very distant memory.
Sadly, Ipswich are currently the longest serving members of the Championship and football of any reasonable standard has been hard to come by at Portman Road in quite sometime.
This all culminates in my burgeoning interest in Italian football. Which is partly why I am so excited about moving out to Florence for an entire year. Ever since I was given FIFA 2001 on the PC and signed Francesco Totti, Vincenzo Montella and Marco Delvecchio for my Everton team, I have had some strange affinity to Italian footballers. Whether it was the mesmerising skills they deployed to beat hapless defenders as I sat and watched James Richardson's weekly review of Serie A football on TV or their fantastic names like Fabrizio Ravanelli and Alessandro Del Piero, I was completely seduced. Even watching Gianfranco Zola play at Chelsea all those many years ago caught my imagination and only served to strengthen my interest in Italy. Totti especially was a real idol. His cool swagger around the pitch with his socks down below his shin pads was a real eye opener. Everything he did just oozed quality and silkiness.
So for the season commencing 2013-14 I will be temporarily putting on hold my love affair with 'The Tractor Boys' and instead taking on the mantle of ACF Fiorentina as my new local team. Also known as the Viola due to the team's chosen colours. I am hoping that the football will be a touch more glamorous and even the prospect of a few Europa League matches looks somewhat enticing! The purple kit, however, might take a tad getting used to!
Forza La Viola!