As I sit here realizing that the typical Revolution-supporter Twitter infighting might be starting at a record early point this year, I’ve decided to stop feeding the Twitter beast for a few minutes and actually justify the massive fifteen dollar or so investment I make each year to keep this silly URL by gracing the blog with an actual post.
I’d like to attribute my lack of recent blogging to one specific thing, but clearly that’s not reality. A new(ish) job has me knee-deep in to-do’s, Twitter is just so much darn easier to vent with and, most frustratingly, I typically write about the Revolution.
And, at least for me, they are… well… uninspiring.
(Important note… This is clearly an on-the-field commentary. As Matt Reis showed this week, and others have in the past, we have some inspirational individuals involved with this team. It’s the soccer I’m talking about here.)
Now, to level-set, I was at the opening game in “The Fort” with a frozen wife and kids, I have seen every game this year (though some on DVR) and am sitting here still wearing my Revs shirt after having let the kids stay up past bedtime to see the end of the Revolution game. (Hopefully they wake Mom, and not I, with the multiple-goals induced nightmares.)
I’m still here. And despite my venting, I’m probably not going anywhere.
I’m just not particularly motivated by it all.
I’ve been lucky. I’ve seen games in some of the world’s treasured stadiums and have tasted what – in some bizarro alternate world – we COULD have. It’s addicting.
I’ve been to versions of that reality in Seattle, no passport required. It’s a not-too-terrible facsimile of the experience that the rest of the world enjoys. Heck, the Portland atmosphere may have them trumped. And stadiums? We’ve got at least a couple that would make quite a few European teams envious.
At the best games there’s an electricity that carries through the crowd and onto the field. There’s a certain noise that simply cannot be recreated in any other venue. It’s intoxicating. In some of my first games internationally, I had to remind myself to look at the field, as I was so enthralled by the sights and sounds pulsating throughout the stadiums.
And then there’s the action on the field. There’s an unmistakable quality that means you are surprised when a cross flies desperately away from target, not the other way around. Being fair, I’m far from a Euro-snob and will defend the value of MLS and what it brings to anyone who cares to debate it. I can admit that – without a doubt – some of the games I’ve seen internationally were of no higher quality than what we get to see in many MLS games.
However, I know deep down inside that MLS isn’t at the level of on-field and off-field excellence I’ve been able to taste elsewhere. Since 1996 I’ve dealt with that just fine.
Oddly, what’s starting to get harder to deal with is that while MLS is starting to flirt with the reality of better leagues in both atmosphere and play, it’s not happening anywhere near home.
This reality causes me to vacillate pretty heavily from non-emotionally involved critic, to silly fan-boy, to angry blogger with some frequency. (Sometimes within 140 characters, it seems.) I’ll freely admit that, and I don’t expect it to change.
After my work and my family, I’ve invested pretty much all my mental energy into my interest in this ridiculous game. Those who know me, would agree that I am barely conversant in most other sports and don’t really care to change that fact. I’ve found my game.
So from time to time, I will vent.
I will vent that my local team fails to inspire me with the “style” they have played for all these years. A style that seems to quickly marginalize creative players for more athletic replacements. Where work-rate trumps creativity. Every time.
I will vent that I don’t always feel the team’s ownership is takes the Revolution as seriously as do its most dedicated fans. (Some of which are many, many times more dedicated than I.) I can rationalize why it’s the case, as the Patriots are quite the local institution, but that doesn’t make it OK anymore. We’ve seen what’s possible across MLS.
I will vent about inexperienced coaches who everyone likes and everyone quietly worries about. We can argue about Toja or Nguyen, if Bengtson is committed, if Benny was a basket case or any other tactical choices or personnel decisions. But to my eyes, there’s more in those players than we are getting. It’s eerily late-term Nicol-esque.
I will vent about a team management organization that’s undeniably smart and committed, but that perhaps lacks the spark or creativity to shake up this organization in a way that brings meaningful change. Competence is great, but dreaming big shouldn’t be seen as a silly enterprise. Leaders lead.
I will vent that it would have been hard to create such an emotional and poignant entrance like we saw pre-game today in our own home stadium. The atmosphere, size, logistics and overall environment require our Revolution supporter’s clubs to make superhero-like efforts to create something great from quite little.
I will vent about more.
And maybe I’ll blog about it occasionally.
All that said, I’d be much happier to blog about greatness. About goals. About cheering. About a noteworthy stadium atmosphere. About that no-look pass that actually led to something. And yes, about the spirit and dedication of our team to fight for a victory.
Playing the beautiful game well and being “Boston Strong” shouldn’t be in conflict.
It’s not impossible.
It just feels pretty improbable for 2013 right now.
If I’m proven wrong, I’ll be the happiest non-venting, infrequently posting blogger around.