20 Feb Chennai’s adopted son
Written by Shiva
I hail from Pondicherry and for a long time I’ve longed to be associated with a sports team that I can call my own. When franchisee cricket started almost a decade ago, I used to wear the ‘local colours’ with pride. But the feeling of being an integral part of the team never happened.
Two years ago when I moved to Chennai looking for opportunities, I began enjoying the warmth of the capital city and particularly loved the way I was welcomed to the city. But again, I had not at one point, had an opportunity to connect with the city on a personal level.
On the 19th of November, 2017, things changed however. My colleague, Vinod, who is a member of the B Stand Blues – A Supporters group of Chenaniyin FC, invited me to accompany him to a football game at the Marina Arena.
The buildup to the game was exciting as I went to the stadium early, picked up a Chenaniyin kit from one of the local sellers and met these bunch of enthusiastic boys all clad in Blue assembling hours before kickoff outside the stadium. My colleague had given me a fair gist of what was going to happen. Infact, he gave a list of chants that they were going to sing. I was apprehensive. This was my first time watching a football game live and I wasn’t sure if I would be joining in with the chants. I made note however.
We all checked in to Block B Level 1 and immediately I found the group buzzing with activity. Banners were being hung from pole to pole, huge flags in club colours were being set to wave in support of the players and sheer size of the stadium and the active participation of the boys astounded me.
The players trickled in for warm up and the Boys in Blue arose to chant. Their chants were so loud, that even though there was blaring music being played by the stadium DJ, these guys were audible.
It was a heartwarming sight to see the players acknowledge every chant that was being sung and hence unknowingly, I began chanting along with them. The atmosphere just grows on you and as the match progressed, and as minutes passed by with the BSB – I had that feeling I hadn’t had for years now. A sense of attachment and finally I had a team I could relate to and feel proud as my own.
Every move in the stadium is cheered and every player, whether his actions are helping the team or otherwise, there’s always this group of youngsters chanting tirelessly. They stand out from the rest of the Chennai crowd in many ways and what makes them special is that irrespective of the result they are there hours before kickoff and stay back hours after full time cheering, waving their scarfs and chanting their hearts out for the team. They don’t get anything particular out of this except for the satisfaction of being there for the local club come what may. This level of dedication I haven’t seen in any other group and this is what prompted me to be a part of this amazing fan club.
What started out as a one-off game has now grown upon me that I go around telling friends about Chennaiyin FC, my hometown club (Yes, Chennai is now home and CFC is my hometown club) and about the Boys in Blue – the B Stand Blues. Ever since that first game experience, I’ve made it a point to go to the stadium for almost every game. Infact, I’ve missed only one match so far at Chennai and will also be travelling to Kochi with BSB for the Kerala Blasters Away Game – an experience I’m looking forward to the most.
Chennai’s adopted son, but a true blue now: Chennaiyin Shiva.