“Nothing cements fandom like pain.”

Brendan Hunt

When you think of Liverpool, the city of The Beatles and maritime glory, there’s a certain soccer team that may or may not ring a bell. They’re not the ones in red. No, they’re the ones in royal blue, giving new meaning to the phrase, “It’s the hope that kills you.”

Let’s talk… about Everton.

Everton isn’t merely a soccer team; it’s a cocktail of exhilaration, anxiety, and that special type of stomach-churning that you thought was reserved for eating gas station sushi. This peculiar mix, as bizarre as it might seem, locks Everton fans together in solidarity… like passengers bracing for turbulence in a rickety old plane.

This bond among fans, think of it like a rubber band. If you stretch it too much, it snaps. However, with every stretch, there’s that incredible tension that keeps it intact. That’s Everton’s fandom—perpetually stretched but never quite breaking.

You might ask, why would anyone willingly be a fan of a team that takes you on a roller-coaster of (mostly downward) emotions? Ah, because the thrill is in the journey, not the destination. It’s like opting for a bumpy, scenic car ride over a dull highway. You get jolted, you spill your coffee, but oh, the stories you have for later!

If you closely observe an Everton fan during a match, there’s a pattern.

First, there’s the optimism—each game is THE game.

Then there’s that fleeting moment where the ball almost makes it to the net. The air gets thick. Eyes widen. Time slows. And then, a collective exhale as the ball dances past the goalpost—yet again. The Evertonian doesn’t (always) cry. No, they sigh—a sigh so profound it could move mountains.

Ah, but don’t be fooled. This isn’t a tale of eternal grief. It’s a ballad of eternal hope.

See, with every stumble, with every heartache, there’s a weird, inexplicable strength that the Toffees fans gather. It’s the kind of strength you find in romantic comedies where the protagonist runs through airports, fighting security, just to declare undying love. Is there pain? Undoubtedly. But is there purpose behind the madness? Absolutely.

For every missed goal, there’s a shared groan. For every loss, there’s a shared pint and the eternal words, “Next time… Next time.” And that’s the beauty. In a world that glorifies winners, here’s a community that celebrates/endures the journey, the struggle, the ‘almost-there-but-not-quite’.

There’s a certain snobbery to victory. A complacency. But the Everton fans? They’re made of sterner stuff. Drama is their daily bread. Pessimism? That’s just breakfast. And yet, the belief never wavers. Like waiting for a British summer, they hope against hope, even if it’s just a few minutes of sunshine.

There’s an old myth that diamonds are formed under extreme pressure. If that’s true, then every Everton fan is a shining, radiant jewel. Their resilience is commendable, their faith unshakeable. They wear their heart on their sleeves and their hope in their chants.

And so, as the world races by, crowning champions and lauding victors, in one corner of Liverpool, there’s a team and its fans—unfazed, undeterred, and united in their shared narrative. It’s not about the destination—it’s the roller-coaster ride that counts.

Remember this…

While others polish their trophies, Everton compiles epic tales.

While others count their victories, Everton counts the moments that take our breath away—often because we’re gasping in disbelief.

While others chase after the glint of championship gold, Everton pursues something far more elusive: the glimmer of undying hope.

And while so many others are busy building champions, Everton, with a clever smirk, builds character.

So, so much damn character.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.