Following your team is an Olympian effort

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 02:  The Swiss cycling team practices during a training session at the Rio Olympic Velodrome on August 2, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Photo of Niall McIlroy

Supporting a sports club can see you travelling long distances and spending a good deal of money on what amounts to a pilgrimage.

The Olympics are almost here - haven't you heard!?

We're all about to become overnight experts on sports we only watch once every four years. 

But that's part of the fun - praising and criticising athletes like we're real aficionados of artistic gymnastics and Greco-Roman wrestling when really we don't know a passive zone from a pommel horse.

I'm a sports fan and besides the novelty of the event, I do enjoy watching people who've dedicated their lives to a sport, compete against the world's best and either win ... or fail.

But the Olympics are just light entertainment compared to my real sporting passion - Everton Football Club. 

Following Everton is a tradition for my family. We watch every game live. We watch them together. And because of the time difference, this can mean staying up until 3am or waking up at 4am. 

But watching here in Perth, on the other side of the world, pales in comparison to the experience of making the pilgrimage to Goodison Park, home of the Blues in Liverpool. It isn't cheap when you add up flights and match tickets and merchandise but it is the one travel experience that is a ritual for me. I hope to continue practising this ritual throughout my life

Match morning, I’m walking down Goodison Road, stopping in at the club shop then on to the Spellow and the Winslow for refreshments, shoulder-to-shoulder with home and a handful of away supporters. 

Out to the street for chips soaked in vinegar. Cross the road to the Grand Old Lady Goodison. Pig out on a Scouse pie and a pint. Find your seat, Z-Cars plays, the team run out ... there are 40,000 of us singing our hearts out. Win, lose or draw - this choir is singing in heaven.   


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