The Internationalist

Californian cheerleader: why I travelled 11,000 miles to watch Oldham Athletic

LA lady explains her crazy journey exclusively to The Spoiler

Sara the Oldham Cheerleader

Those who can remember back to last week may recall a story we published about a pair of Californian cheerleaders, who traded the elegance of Beverly Hills for the inelegance of Greater Manchester, flying 11,000 miles to watch Oldham Athletic.

Sara Mathew, one half of the intrepid globe travelling team, read our piece and emailed us (and if you think that’s the first time an attractive Californian cheerleader has tried to get our attention with unsolicited emails you’d be, er, quite right). Sara rose above our immature scathing tone, and as a sign of what a good sport she is, agreed to write us an account of how she met The Latics’ finest and ended up standing outside Boundary Park in the pouring rain…

The question I get asked most often, one that seems to be solicited by a broad range of individuals – spanning from 13-year-olds who collect football cards on the playground to 45-year-olds who collect football cards in their mother’s basement – is what happened with the Oldham footballers on holiday that propelled my friend and I to make the transatlantic voyage to watch them play. I was recently asked about this on talkSPORT, and did a sort of lyrical ballet around the question. This is partially because I’m shy and guarded and part because I take mild offense to spoofs of myself on football blogs where I am replaced in pictures by Sacramento Cheerleaders downing cheap crystal [we have literally no idea what she's referring to here - Ed.].

I first met the boys at “The Palms,” a beach bar off of Seven Mile Beach in the Grand Cayman Islands. Wednesday nights are “Industry Nights” and it’s where young and frivolous islanders gather to engage in shoddy equivalents of peacock mating rituals. After walking by the table of players, I was called over by a tall blonde bloke who suggested we sip on beverages with the rest of the team. A few hours later, I was engaged in a riveting conversation about fruit with Oldham player, Jon Worthington [pictured above].

Gripped with his distinctive British pronunciation of “strawberries and bananas” (yes – it took that much), we had a few more drinks and he invited us to “O-Bar” – a nightclub a mile or so up the road. Unfortunately, the girl I was with (it wasn’t [fellow transatlantic traveller] Amber) was not too keen with the fella who’d been chatting her up. I’m not sure why – if I recall correctly, his name was Paul [possibly defender Paul Black?] and he was wearing a Mickey Mouse shirt that screamed “I-Am-In-The-M’Fu-Cayman-Islands-And-Too-Drunk-And-Possibly-Too-High-To-Take-Myself-That-Seriously” – then again, my reasons for following Jon to O-Bar rested predominantly on fruit articulation. So we did a little verbal tango, exchanged numbers, and suggested we’d try again later.

The next day there was more texting, another missed beach-bar opportunity, and later that night we found ourselves in a dirty sports bar appropriately named “The Attic.” The boys were playing pool and Amber and I were on the other side of the bar with a few of our local fellas watching them validate their manhood with rounds of Guitar Hero. There were waves, a few covert glances, and eventually words exchanged by Jon and me. He asked why I wasn’t drinking, whether I wanted a drink, and whether we wanted to play a game of pool with them. I’d like to believe that I am not usually off-standish or unapproachable to men – however, the circumstances surrounding the particular encounter were not ideal as the guy sitting on the couch in front of us was my boyfriend’s best friend. And while my boyfriend and I were logistically on “break” – partially because he was moving to Leeds (oh, the irony kills) – I felt somewhat inappropriate and tactless accepting a drink from another male in front of him. So I made an excuse involving school, joked about them needing cheerleaders for their pool game, and once again – made plans to meet up the following night, Jon’s last night on the island.

The following night is a blur. As a second year medical student, it’s understood that parties involving heavy drinking center around post-exams. However, there we all were at “Aquabeach,” yet another beach bar – and I was sipping on something like my fifth cranberry-vodka, most of which I was spilling on everyone around me. Jon and I would talk in spurts, and usually behind large hoards of people. I quickly realized this was because his sister was present and very vocal about me staying away from her baby brother – who she quite frankly told me “has a girlfriend so I’m not sure why you’re still hanging around.” I was captain of my cheerleading squad in high school and my first instinct when faced with a potential cat-fight is to break into a retaliation cheer. Fortunately, I was able to quell this compulsion.

Long story short, we ditched the bar and went to the night-club “Next Level” next door. There was lots of dancing, more shots, more spilling of cranberry-vodka, and some good clean fun. At the risk of sounding like a Celine Dion ballad, somewhere in my drunken stupor, I remember thinking it was the first time in a long time that things seemed OK. The thing is, everyone expects there to have been some drunken act of physical love – but really, it was just a party (not a party in my pants, mind you). Granted, the stars were well aligned – we were all drunk and could have easily driven back to my place and shagged like jack-rabbits until the headboard detached from my bed. And then we could have taken dirty pictures of each other and he could have signed me off as another one slayed by a footballer on holiday. It would probably be more convincing than him driving me home, relaying his role as best-man in Nathan Clarke’s wedding next week, and then going to his own bed to sleep with the daughter synonym of “dignity.” Almost as believable as two Los Angeles cheerleaders flying to England to watch an Oldham match.

P.S. In regards to the Oldham visit – there’s really nothing new than what’s already out there. Los Angeles is filled with women who resemble Barbie – but the cheap $2.50 kind that you don’t want you mom to buy. In this sense, Oldham was refreshing. Additionally, it should be noted that I didn’t tell any of the players that we were visiting and there was no communication with them prior to our arrival. And since our story has been introduced to the media – the only text I’ve managed to find the nerve to send Jon is “Oops.”


7 responses so far
  • Brandon // September 16, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I go to school with Sara. Jon got very lucky. Not only is she gorgeous, she has something most girls as attractive as her lack: Class.

  • R // September 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    If that really is her then she sure can write.

    Very entertaining and interesting story.

    Your welcome in Belfast anytime!

  • Mike // September 16, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Grand Cayman – 345- great bars- great fun

  • Brandon // September 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    I think I like her more than I like him.

  • john // September 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    if u look closely this is definately photoshopped. the blurring in key areas and mismatches in telling places. i would be surprised if it wasnt.

  • Brandon // September 16, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    ^ is this guy for real? ya maybe she never met him and made all of this up? give it a rest.

  • David // September 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    yea.. the never met… http://www.vimeo.com/6291348

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