There’s a mug my father acquired during a work-related stay in London in the mid-1970s that’s always my first choice for coffee drinking when I’m in Northern California. It’s illustrated with a cheesy painting of happy soccer fans, accompanied by the slogan "West Ham Are Magic."
Today I feel the magic. I sort of adopted West Ham as my team when we lived in London in 2000-2001, partly because of the mug, partly because our postman was so thrilled when he delivered tickets to a game at Upton Park. But today’s FA Cup final, which the Hammers tragically lost to Liverpool on penalty kicks after two exhausting hours of fantastic, end-to-end soccer, made me a West Ham fan for life.
They weren’t nearly as good as Liverpool. All of their three goals were lucky breaks of one sort or another, while Liverpool’s three were brilliant. But West Ham kept fighting and fighting, most valiantly Marlon Harewood who almost kicked in a winning goal with his sprained ankle in overtime.
What really cemented my loyalty, though, was this: The West Ham song is "I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles," an American hit from the 1920s about futility and crazy dreams. And all through the broadcast (which cost $24.95 on pay-per-view and was worth every penny) you could see bubbles wafting by the camera.