Dear Swiss National Team,
My name is Sonja Missio and I am Swiss living in Toronto, Canada. Even though I lived very far away, I always feel my Swiss roots when I watch the national team.
Honestly, I don’t remember the first time I saw them play. I didn’t have an epiphany or a specific moment when I fell in love with the team. There is no fairy tale nor central memory; They’ve always been there, like an undercurrent that’s just a part of my life.
I think that’s the beauty of supporting your country: you don’t need to go through that exact moment where you fall in love, like with a team. No, the love and support for your country is always there, a sense of pride and belonging that cannot be described in words.
It is not a decision, but a feeling; which becomes so ingrained in the formation of your being, that you almost take it for granted. It is not a question of “Why support the Swiss national team?” Rather, it is a question of “how can I not support the Swiss national team?”
Don’t get me wrong, I have moments: favorite moments, horrible moments, and proud moments live inside of me. I remember the exact position of Sommer’s arm when he saved a penalty kick for Mbappe at Euro 2020. I remember Alexander Frey’s face when he collided with Zdenek Gregera on the knee before the break (Euro 2008). I remember celebrating Gelson Fernandez’s goal after scoring against Spain (World Cup South Africa 2010).
These moments turned into memories that now live inside my head. Chunks of time have already passed, but it still evokes in me the same feelings as the day it happened.
In general, this is how memories work. However, this World Cup will be different. This World Cup, these soon-to-be memories, will not only be mine because this year I will be able to share them.
This is the first year that I have been watching the World Cup with my son. He will be less than a year old when the tournament starts, but I can’t wait for both of us to see him on the field.
I was pregnant with him last summer, when they beat France at the Euros. I think this experience affected him. He knew before he was born how to feel the love and affection for the Swiss national team.
I also think this is what it means to be Swiss. People joke about our impartiality, but we are far from impartial when it comes to football. Upon entering any stadium, you can immediately recognize the Swiss fans – with our colors and flags. We may not be many, but what we lack in numbers, we make up for in support.
The whole country supports you. We will celebrate your victories and support you in your struggles. We will help you to get ahead of both your fans in Switzerland and those who live abroad.
And this year, you have another little fan who’s going to be watching you, with wide eyes, not understanding what’s going on, but knowing it’s something special.
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