I can remember a time when I would avidly follow my local football team, but it's been a while now, nigh on thirty years since I followed them with a passion. Over the years, with the changes in the game, and especially with the importing of foreign players, the concept of 'local team' has lost all meaning for me; aided and abetted by the newer generation 'supporters' who invest their allegiance in the most "successful" clubs at the expense of their local teams.
When I was a lad, supporting your local team was passed on through the generations, and you were "with" your club through thick and thin. And although I fell short of kicking the cat when they lost, I suffered a mild, but fortunately, transient depression; which for me is the mark of a supporter - suffering. In this respect, It's not dissimilar to marriage - for better, for worse; through sickness and health... etc.
Nowadays, although I'm aware of a residual attachment to their fortunes (I always check to see how they're doing) I have better things to do than go watch them, despite their potential for heaping upon me much emotional pain (they're not doing so well of late) and all of the kudos that gives in terms of being a 'true follower'.
It didn't take long to 'shake off' my allegiance. All it required was some modest thinking about the 'reality' of 'supportership'. It didn't stand scrutiny. I realised, In essence, it has all the hallmarks of religious belief, especially in its satisfying the will to belong. But once I gained sight of a more enduring 'self' underneath all of the the inherited cultural clap-trap, including this quasi-religion, I dropped it. Now I realise I'm the final arbiter when it comes to bringing meaning into my life. That what is used to bring that meaning about is not important. It can be done via religion, football, trainspotting, masturbation, strangling animals, or countless other activities.
I have to believe I'm in control of what's important to me. It's scary, but infinitely less so than surrendering to the dubious creed of thinking ultimate meaning resides in something greater than myself.