Friendly Banter Friday
Let me start out by thanking the MLS scheduling “computer” for assigning such wonderful start times for our regional rivalry with the Columbus Crew! A 7pm start on a Friday on Memorial Weekend is sure to fill the Crew’s stadium. The Crew returns on a Wednesday night in mid-July and the Fire returns to Columbus on the following Sunday evening. Such wonderful start times for traveling fans of both clubs.
Recent “Derby” talk in the lead up to the NY Red Bulls and NYC FC game got me wondering about the match up between the Fire and the Crew. Columbus is our closest rival, but it seems like MLS HQ does not think it’s worthy of publicizing. Then again, there’s a positive out of that, MLS won’t latch on to our fans and reimage them into fans of a team which only exists on paper:
The best part of this photo comparison is that a kid in a Chivas jersey was cropped out.
So what are Crew and Fire fans to do? If you are from Columbus there may not be a lot going on in town notwithstanding ranking as the 14th largest city in our nation. After all, it’s a college town, and most of the inhabitants, worship college football. In contrast, Chicago has many colleges, a lake and river, skyscrapers, Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain, the headquarters of the United States Soccer Federation, Michael Jordan, just to name a few.
In case you missed it, four Columbus Crew fans “invaded” Chicago to engage in good natured mischief by taking photos of Crew stickers and scarfs against famous Chicago monuments and sights. Here’s the story in 12 or-so tweets:
Earlier today I spoke with the chief protagonist, Morgan Hughes, and he told me that his “sticker and scarf invasion” (my words) was intended to help promote our rivalry since MLS could care less about promoting it. Given the fact that the hijinks was pulled off by a crew of four people gave it a very un-corporate vibe. That’s exactly what Morgan was looking for given MLS 3.0’s penchant for annoying fans (insert your own random snark about Front Office funded Tifos, MSL commercials promoting smoke and streamers, etc., in the comments section below).
Morgan is behind “Massive Tifos” and explained me how the word “Massive” turns up in a lot of Crew supporter groups and banter. Here is the only representative piece I’m willing to post on this site (the rest are Crew related tifos):
Leave a comment below if you think you know the answer to where the term “Massive” came from. I’ll reveal the answer over the weekend.
When I asked Morgan how he coordinated all of the stops, told me that he’s a big planner and likes to have things “mapped out” in advance. He explained that he put all of the sites into a spread sheet and then mapped out which should be visited via a car, foot and bike. The car sites were hit first, followed by bike and foot.
Morgan told me that the entire purpose of the sticker and scarf tour was to have some good natured fun. Apparently no laws were broken, and for the record, no stickers were used. The “offending” Crew symbol was nothing more than a large magnet.
I ended my call by telling Morgan that “I hope the Fire destroy the Crew tonight” and he one-upped me by saying “I hope the Fire never win a game this season.” In response, I challenged him to a “friendly supporter’s match”, and he said he’d get a crew to Bridgeview if and when MLS gives us all a decent game slot. Paging, MLS, Paging MLS….
Morgan wasn’t the only person who engaged in some good natured banter. Crew and Fire fans alike posted back and forth on Twitter.
Making fun of the Fire for have the president ignore us was also pretty “choice.”
Crossing the Line “Banter”, You Know it When You See It
Unfortunately, a few “fans” went a bridge too far in their efforts to engage in “banter.” I won’t dignify them by “outing” them because I presume “fans” who tweet vile things get off on the resultant attention. The “fan” in question alluded to the tragic death of a young girl who was killed at a Columbus NHL game and the premature tragic death of Kirk Urso, a former Chicago Fire Premier and Downer’s Grove native (RIP Kirk Urso). Here’s a nice piece about Kirk:
When a “fan” tweets about the death of a young girl or a soccer player approaching his prime, you would think that the “fan” would think about the friends and families of the deceased (especially Kirk’s family who may follow Twitter posts about their beloved son). The above article ends with a touching note from Kirk’s mother.
You’d also think that the “fan” would think about how offensive his tweet would be to Eric Gerig, whose tweet is included in the article.
At the same time, when a fan publishes offensive tweets in the direction of another club, his or her actions harm his or her own club and the club’s supporters by way of “guilt by association.” Thanks “fan”, you’ve made us all look bad.
And if the club’s fans do publicly or privately rebuke the offending “fan”, or simply say “that’s just JXXY, being JXXY, you can’t reason with him”, what does that say about us as a community? Can we truly be offended when a rival fan tweets something offensive, especially during the same week?
Sadly, the “fan” defended his tweets and did not remove Urso tweet until after he was ridiculed on Twitter by a soccer fan who resides on another continent. He never apologized as far as I know. And bizarrely, the “fan” bemoaned the fact that another person would mock his beloved photos. That’s called karma. Maybe Twitter should include a disclaimer, “those who abuse people on Twitter are liable to be abused in kind.”
I don’t accept the silly argument that “fans in Europe say the same or worse things” as a justification to tweeting about anyone’s death, sex, race, sexual orientation or national origin. While a handful of idiots in England may think it is part of a rivalry to invoke images of the Munich or Hillsborough disasters, that abhorrent conduct which does not justify recent tweets.
As fans of the “beautiful game,” we can’t pick which victims we want to defend on Twitter. Recently, when a Fire fan tweeted certain statements which were perceived to be sexist, he was quickly rebuked. Likewise, when Fire fans tweet highly offensive things directed towards another club, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye. While it’s not always easy to know what’s truly offensive, Justice Potter Stewart said it best when he said, “I know it when I see.” Justice Potter used this language in 1964 when he attempted to explain the test for obscenity in the case of Jacobellis v. Ohio. [Yes, somehow I’d return this piece back to Ohio] According to Justice Stewart:
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.
There are only my personal opinions; feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree with what I’ve said.
Epic Video of the Week
I’d like to end this on a high-note by posting an epic FOUR-SAVE-PK-SAVE (I don’t know what else to call it) form last weekend.
This save made up for the fact that I missed the first half of the Chicago Fire’s 2-2 tie against NYC FC. The chest thump was pretty cute considering the fact that the opposing team mistakenly thought the ball when it before the fourth save. The fist pump at the end is also kind of cool. It’s not all that often that a youth soccer keeper can bask in the glory of an epic sequence of saves.
Sadly, this was not my kid in goal, but who knows; maybe he’ll do something epic tonight.