I’ve just spent a week in the back of beyond on vacation with my wife. You may be wondering where that is. The African bush? Australian outback perhaps? Well, neither of those actually, in fact much closer to home than that. Wales. To bring things in perspective I’m referring specifically to something that has become an integral part of life for many these days. A reliable internet connection.
I’m old enough to remember the time when we first had access to the Internet. The good old days of dial-up, well where we stayed it was more a case of wind-up. Getting access to the TNS social media accounts ranged from very slow to impossible. As I often say though, I’m not complaining. Just saying it as it was, that’s all.
The ten-mile round trip to Barmouth though was the answer. My iPad icon magically went from a spinning wheel to a full-strength connection bar. So whenever we went into town, along came my connection device to the outside world and I replied, RT’d or whatever needed to be done. In fact, last Monday’s Rev’s Ramblings was posted from the driver’s seat of my car parked on the promenade just a stone’s throw from the Barmouth and Dyffryn FC ground.
My packing as far as clothes were concerned consisted of TNS tracksuit, TNS shirts, TNS shorts, TNS bodywarmer and TNS jacket in case of rain (well we are talking Wales after all.) I’m sure you get the picture though; it’s no different to when I’m at home really. I’m basically a walking, moving, living advert for The New Saints. I even sleep in a Dancing Chairman tee shirt. I’m not sure I should confess that but if I tell you I go to bed with Mike Harris, it’s all about context.
You see people on holiday (and elsewhere of course) wearing football colours. It’s about identifying with your team; it’s an outward evidence of inner pride. Walking around in your team’s shirt is akin to the newly-engaged girl who shows off her diamond for all the world to see. You’re in love, you’re proud, you want everyone to know. Welcome to the world of the football fan.
Not that I wear stuff for that reason of course, but not once did anyone pass any comment or even do a double-take when they saw the club badge. On holiday in Wales, decked out in the attire of the national champions and yet no-one is aware. At this point let me say I’m not being negative, just realistic. It’s not a TNS thing either, I’d have expected exactly the same if I’d been dressed in a Bala shirt or an Airbus jacket.
Only once in the last couple of years of Wales-based holidays have I raised a comment. Shopping at Asda in Kinmel Bay last year, I had a conversation with one of the shelf-stackers who is also a referee in the Welsh system. In fact the next day he was running the line at a Holywell Town game. When I used to wear my Wolves shirt on vacation it was the door to many a chat.
It doesn’t discourage me though, after all I wear the gear because first and foremost I want to, it’s not to catch people’s eye. If I get no response I don’t feel like the door-to-door salesman who has logged zero sales and experienced nothing but slammed doors. It’s not like that. I do feel passionate not only about TNS but Welsh football as a whole though, so the more darts you throw the more chance there is that some will hit the board.
Whether it’s the TNS sticker on the back window of my car or the clothes I’ve already mentioned, I’ll keep doing it regardless. It’s not exactly a hardship is it, dressed up like a Park Hall promotion or having a bit of sticky plastic on your car. Although Wales may be a bit of a back-of-beyond sometimes as far as the internet is concerned, it’s football is definitely premier league. And that’s certainly something to shout about. Contact me: email@example.com