This week's TTE pub chat took on the topic of life and football colliding. This is something I can relate to for a number of different reasons.
I try my very best to make as many matches as I can. However, I'm part of the shift worker army so sometimes its not quite as easy as I'd like it to be. Meticulous planning of shift swaps, annual leave and just a little bit of luck with my days off makes following a football team like a part time job in itself. Throw a long distance relationship, friends and family into the mix; I wonder myself how I end up having the time to follow my beloved Reading.
Saying that, I have made a reasonable amount of away games this season, but including our league cup win at Brighton in September, I've only actually seen us win on the road three times. The last time I attended an away victory was November against Wigan.
Is it still fun following Reading around even when I've seen more losses than wins away from home? Yes, of course it is. I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it. Most of you will know what I mean when I talk about being hooked. It's like a bad relationship; they tell you they'll change, and you know they won't, but you keep hanging on just in case they do.
Reading did exactly this on Saturday. The first half was very messy, and they were struggling to even get the basics right. Lewis Grabban and Yann Kermorgant were the only two who looked like they wanted to make something happen with two decent chances towards the end of the half.
After Forest had scored their third goal, I'd got to that point where you don't really care any more. Stuff happens which you have no control over so there's no benefit to getting yourself worked up about it.
However, when Kermorgant scored his first goal of the afternoon, he gave me some hope again that things were going to work. The rest of the team sparked into life, and when the second one went in, I'd completely forgotten about the disjointed and defensively weak first half.
I truly believed that we were back on course, and for a brief second thought I was finally going to witness one of these impressive comebacks (which are mythical to me) when John Swift had a shot from just outside the box. The shot went just wide and alas, even the introduction of Joseph Mendes didn't completely heal the wounds of the earlier mistakes.
This season I've seen teasers of what the team can do against Barnsley and Wigan, and obviously hearing about the great results at Hillsborough and Villa Park; it's enough for me to continue putting in the effort to make my relationship with Reading FC a long term one. Add that to the home form and the fact that we've been in the top 6 for a significant portion of the season, how can you not enjoy it?
I've mentioned in previous blogs that the football is important to me because its one way my Mum and I get to spend time together. A trip to the City Ground for us is always a nice one because Nottingham is my birth city. It made me realise that my life would have never taken the same path had my family stayed in the East Midlands.
I probably would've never had a reason to move south and found my passion for aviation. I know for sure I wouldn't have been a Reading fan. I'd have never seen Shane Long's 100th minute winner in front of the Kop on a cold January evening. I'd have never seen us give Arsenal a run for their money in the FA cup a couple of seasons ago.
So, we may not have had much success on the road this season, and some people may consider our football boring. However, it's these memories and the excitement of what Jaap Stam has instilled into this team which still makes following Reading everywhere so much fun for me.
Obviously a defeat against a team hovering just above the relegation zone was disappointing, but not the end of the world. It was never going to be an easy game against a side fighting for survival, and the way that Forest played it makes you wonder how they've actually ended up in the position they're in.
We're still sitting pretty in third (although Huddersfield play their game in hand against Wolves on Tuesday) and Leeds slipped up once again to keep the gap to seventh at 6 points. With the same amount of points left to play for, avoiding defeat against Wigan next week would finally confirm our play off position.