Several years ago some friends of a friend of mine decided to pick a sports team to follow. The two halves of this couple had grown up in different cities so rather than having one ardent supporter and one meh-whateverer they decided the best and fairest thing would be to choose a new team to love and cherish together.
They spent considerable time figuring out the criteria for their new team, none of which I can remember other than the team had to have the potential for greatness but not actually be too great at the time of choosing (so they could enjoy its rise), and it had to be based in a town with a population over 135,000.
That's right, because they were going to move there.
These friends of a friend were looking for a little more than a team to support. They were looking for team colours that matched their skin tones, a supporters' club that knew a bbq wasn't about the sausages, and a place to bring up their kids. They were looking to fill the void of modern life.
It's possible I made fun of them at the time. It's possible I called them crazy nutbars, but now the void has come whistling around my neighbourhood so I too have decided to turn to sport for salvation. My sport of choice? Le Tour de France.
Sure I only just figured out it's started already (who knew?), and sure I know nothing about cycling, but what's not to love about a sport that uses words like 'peloton', 'rear cog cluster' and 'derailleur'?
But my desperate over-justification doesn't end there: I had a pale blue Malvern Star all through primary school, I enjoyed The Triplets of Belleville when it first screened in 2003, and I even saw what could have been Le Tour itself when I was driving around France in July 2002 (or else the French have a crazy habit of motoring through narrow streets in small towns with bikes on their roofs):
Note my nascent fandom peeking out from under the front tyre of the second bike on the yellow car.
So unlike my crazy nutbar friends of a friend I feel well qualified in my sporting choice. I'll report back on Le Tour's void-filling capabilities; what fills your void?