Some People Do Not Like the Timber's Army
Someone wrote a letter to the Portland Timbers front office asking the Timber's Army "where's the line?" Now I don't bring this up as a condemnation of the TA nor do a I agree with many of the points in the letter. I only bring it up because for me personally it's an interesting issue that I will soon have to battle; how do I integrate my son into the real, passionate culture of the game without having to explain to my wife just exactly why our son would like to fly over D.C. tomorrow and defecate on the children of unwed mothers that may be found below (he's 2 and 1/2 and he'll repeat anything you say)?
Detractors will often (wrongly) point out that the game has no history in America and that most stateside teams lack any culture beyond their supporters group. Serious fans may know better than that but amongst ourselves we do acknowledge on occasion that for a real culture to evolve around our clubs the youth will have to get an education behind the goal as well as from the Saturday morning youth club. But no one really wants their kid singing about being up to their neck in (fill in the hated team of your choice) blood do they? That's an appointment with Child Protective Services just waiting to happen.
The whole debate reminds me of my Mom's record collection. My Mom always encouraged me to listen to and play music (as she so often did) but, she made damn sure to put her Funkadelic albums in a an out of the way place once I found them for fear of what the cover of The Electric Spanking of the War Babies would do to me. Maybe the answer for her was to let me know that there are these other things out there but I wasn't ready for all that as opposed to trying so hard to deny them that it made me want it more.
Who knows what the solution is for soccer though. Whatever it is will certainly take a minute to get here; a truce between the parents and the passionate won't come without a bit of time, tolerance and respect from both sides. And although I do believe that the notion of trying to rely on group sales to families and youth clubs hasn't been getting it done, we've still got a way to go before Crew Stadium has the same vibe as Buckeye Stadium. So in the interim let us be patient, let us be parents and let us be passionate.
Photo courtesy of Allison Andrews.