23 June 2005

Meet the Bad Boys of MLS Fandom: Real Salt Lake (Seriously)

You can feel the casual arrogance of a certain group of fans. Yankees fans are amused and mildly stunned to meet a fan of another team, let alone a fan that thinks that team can win. For years, Lakers fans would lounge around in sunglasses with a pinot noir, unaware that basketball was even played east of the Mississippi. This same calm, detatched, unshakeable feeling that says, "we're the best, and while we may not win it all every year, we'll win enough that other teams will be happy for whatever scraps of the championship may fall their way" pervades all areas of DCU fandom. You can feel it at the heavily armed bunker that is the headquarters of Barra Brava. At the CTU-esque nerve center from which the Screaming Eagles receive their text messaged orders. At the WalMart where La Norte is buying 128-packs of toilet paper. DCU has won two in a row, knocking off a previously undefeated team. Fans are thinking of where to order a fifth star to embroider on their scarves. All is as it should be.

Before someone at the DCU forums of Big Soccer notices an MLS Season X poll, and the world is knocked off its axis. There, where anyone can read it, the poll for best fans shows DCU ahead of everyone at 22%. Everyone, that is, but some crazy expansion team. Somehow, Real Salt Lake has posted at 38% talley.

There are a few reciminations: "They must be cheating. Using a votebot. Clearing their cookies, something, maybe the MLS webmasters will notice all votes are from the same IP Address..." But before long the warm blanket of arrogance manages to reassert itself. It's only a silly poll. DCU fans know their the best, they don't need some silly poll to prove it. Let them cheat.

It is this sentiment I echo. But even more than just passively allowing RSL's vote fraud to go uncontested, I wish to applaud them. At least one, if not more, RSL fans have showed they cared enough to run up the vote stats. Good for them. And yet, I want more. This is not enough. RSL, you have a chance to forge your identity in MLS. Destiny is calling you. Will you take it?

There are always dynasties in sports, the teams that always seem to be there. DC United is that team now, just as the Yankees are, the Lakers were, and the Steelers may be again. But just as important, there are the teams that are the rough and tumble, no holds barred, we love you to hate us teams. They may not win, but they have attitude to spare. We know the Oakland Raiders, the Philly Flyers of the 70s and 80s, the 80s/90s Pistons. They were tough. They were mean. They would cheat, if it helped. But more often than not, it wasn't that they did cheat, it was that they were the cockiest group out there, and their fans were just as cocky. They would cheat, but they didn't (or, at least, not often). But just the casual immorality of it all would shock people.

RSL needs this identity. They've done a good start, drafting Cleetus. One game in, and he gets a yellow for dissent. With the mohawk. Which he should always have, and it should be dyed purple. RSL fans should be in face paint with spikes protruding from thier shoulders. The Loyalists should be printing those Eddie Gurerro T-Shirts right now that say "WE CHEAT TO WIN" in big purple letters on that obnoxious red background. RSL must become the bad boys of MLS, for so many reasons. Here are a few:
  1. People already think Salt Lake is way too much of a goody-two-shoes town.
  2. Chivas would like to be the bad boys, but too often they come off as Biff harassing Marty McFly and forgetting the words. Save us from that.
  3. For those parents worried that this might damage the family-friendly atmosphere, explain that it's not cheating necessarily, but knowing how to interpret (read: bend) the rules thanks to a college education.
  4. RSL needs something to set it apart from other well meaning teams that have yet to win an MLS title.
  5. The Metros don't act bad, they just are bad. It's getting difficult to even much emotion for them right now, so the rest of the league, and especially DC, would love for someone else to hate.

Can you feel it RSL? Are you ready to embrace the dark side (even if it is a bit on the purple side)? Then rise, RSL. Your destiny awaits.


At 24 June, 2005 19:05, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rise and embrace it? Who said we hadn't already?

At 24 June, 2005 19:09, Blogger D said...

I'll believe it when I can buy an "RSL: We Cheat to Win" T-Shirt. Then I will know you have truly risen to take your place and conquer the galaxy (and let's face it, both RSL and DCU love to see the Galaxy get conquered.)


Post a Comment

<< Return to The DCenters Main Page (HOME)