Thursday, April 28, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Real Football - Real Fans

In Oslo you can find one of the oldest and most storied football clubs in Norway. I am talking about real football, what Americans call soccer, and I am talking about the team Lyn. Lyn was established in 1896, and has since been one of the premiere clubs in Norway. It's history filled to the brim with stories of glory and triumph. It has been home to many of the legendary names in Norwegian football. Their classic red and white shirts a symbol of great football.

Recent history has not been kind to Lyn. Since the club last won the Norwegian league in 1968 it has had more than it's fair share of adversity. Poor results, relegations, financial trouble and poor popular support has taken it's toll. Through dark times the Lyn faithful have still stood by their club, waiting for better days.

In the summer of last year, 2 years of constant financial struggles that had seen the team decimated, relegated and fighting to stay alive came to an end. Lyn went bankrupt and was thus wiped out from the league system. The club retained an amateur team in division 6, the 7th level of Norwegian football. By all accounts the club was finished and destined to obscurity. A mighty blow to the fans of the team, had they accepted this as their faith. They didn't.

Immediately after the bankruptcy, the supporters turned the crushing blow into a positive. The fans rallied around the team still left at level 7, determined to support the club on it's impossible climb back to the top of Norwegian football. The feelings of gloom and despair were quickly replaced with a strong sense of community and an unbendable will to fight for Lyn. Old players and talented juniors from the club joined the amateur team in an effort to secure immediate promotion to level 6. With a renewed drive around the club the bottom half of the season turned into a victory parade for Lyn. The team won out with impressive score lines and secured promotion in the last game of the season. Lyn's first step on the way back had been taken.

In the off-season, the club was able to buy out the spot on level 5 that previously belonged to the Lyn recruit team. The fans continued their rally around the club. New web pages were dedicated to the team, the sales of season tickets exploded even though games at level 5 can be watched for free. A new coach was recruited from within the organization, old players returned to the club to help Lyn reclaim it's rightful spot. The optimism and excitement around the team grew to a fever pitch. For a club that had fought for survival for two years, the renewed energy and drive was like a shot of steroids. The torrent of positive news for the club hit it's peak a few months before the 2011 season began.

Mads Dahm grew up playing for Lyn. The tall strong central defender had been traded to a rival team when Lyn collapsed. With the team getting ready for their crucial first season on at level 5, Mads Dahm added his name to the list of legends. Signing an amateur contract with Lyn, he turned down offers from teams abroad and at the top levels of Norwegian football. Giving up the chance to play professionally for the opportunity to get Lyn back to the top.

Lyn opened their 2011 campaign with a 6-0 victory at home. Over 2000 people watch the old and noble club start what they hope will be an unprecedented rise back to the pinnacle of Norwegian football. While 2000 fans at a game might not seem to impressive, consider that the other games in the league most often draw fewer than 10 spectators. The Lyn supporters refused to accept a destiny in the backwaters of football. They treated the game on level 5 as if it was the cup finals. As the long march forward for Lyn begins, they can count on support that far outmatches the level they currently play at.
The disastrous fall and the unlikely and amazing rebirth of Lyn can serve as a reminder to many of us. Out of the most hopeless disasters, there is always potential for a new and brighter beginning. When life beats you down, never accept it! Stand back up and seek out the opportunity for growth it has presented.

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