06 November 2007

A District Gentleman's Primer for Etiquette through the MLS Cup

With D.C. United eliminated, the uncomfortable specter of seeing an MLS Cup played in RFK without our team present is now an inevitability. While such situations may be socially awkward, it is not a scenario that people of good breeding should find insurmountable. Indeed, with tact and aplomb, we can still represent the finest traditions of D.C. United fandom even without D.C. United being around. First, some simple guidelines.

To Thine Own-self Be True: A gentleman will not find some sad, pale proxy of devotion for the remainder of these events. There is no call to adopt from phantom necessity another team to support. Your colors, as befits a gentleman, remain black. Eschew orange, sky blue, navy and red, or red and white. Black is a testament not only to your devotion to United, but also serve as a sober expression of mourning. Such things are appropriate. To root for any other team is to fling oneself at a brightly colored trollop, and is unbecoming for a true United fan. If one has family or close friends from Kansas City, Houston, Boston, or Chicago, then simple and reserved expressions of support are sufficient. However, as we are assuming a certain degree of class and taste, I find it unlikely that any of you have such poor associates.

The Play's The Thing: We shall not allow ourselves to be blinded by our own petty prejudices. While Matt Reis is still a gutter class thug, and Mr. White too frequently takes to the pitch suffering from the vapors, gentlemen of taste and discretion can still appreciate the moments of ingenuity these men can produce. As Petrarch once noted in De Vita Solitaria, "anger leads to hate, and hate leads to the Dark Side." We will offer polite appreciation for the rare moments of class that we see displayed in future events.

The Cat Will Mew, the Dog Will Have His Day: If, after reading this most sage advice, the reader still finds the need the harbor fortune for one of the remaining teams, then I submit to you that your choices belong to either Kansas City or New England. In such cases, one can choose a higher motivation than simply "liking" (what a coarse word!) one of the other teams. Indeed, if it were simple on such a basis then I would no doubt clothe myself in a ten gallon hat and fake red mustache with a Holland jersey. However, Houston is not to be wished for, as it would be unfaithful to United's legacy as only repeating champions. No, if one must adopt a team, then Kansas City may be safely chosen, as your support for Kansas City can be represented as a statement of political convenience, a way of renouncing the silly rules that sent the worst seed to play in an easier conference. Given that Kansas City is likely to be playing the role of Carlos Ruiz's head to the Ricardo Clarks of the world, then one may also support New England. Their consistent appearances in the Eastern Conference final without fully realizing their ambitions have become tedious, and such gluttony can not be abided for long. Let them win the cup this year, and then cry "Enough!"

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At 06 November, 2007 09:38, Anonymous john said...

I was with you until the part about New England. New England??!?! What has gotten into you man?

At 06 November, 2007 09:42, Blogger I-66 said...

Seriously. The only time I root for New England is when they play Jersey and Chicago.

My personal Lesser of All Remaining Evils Hierarchy goes like this:

1) Kansas City
2) Houston
3) New England
4) Chicago

At 06 November, 2007 10:38, Blogger D said...

Ah, we just disagree on the order of evil slightly. For me it is
1) KC
2) New England (just because while normally it would be houston, there's something nice about being the only back-to-back team. It's not from any virtue from Nicol's group)
3) Houston
4) Chicago

That's all.

At 06 November, 2007 11:13, Blogger Kali said...

You do realize that you just jinxed them, right?

At 06 November, 2007 11:37, Blogger Idle said...

Begging your pardon, fine sir, but as any gentleman well-versed in his Petrarch knows, "hate leads to suffering." Hate is endemic of the descent to the Dark Side, however, it does not necessarily provide a direct link (unless said hate is directed at one SeƱor Blanco, in which case it is entirely justified).

At 06 November, 2007 11:48, Blogger The Bird said...

Given that Kansas City is likely to be playing the role of Carlos Ruiz's head to the Ricardo Clarks of the world

It was his shoulder and everyone saw it. Don't play that brigand's game!

Vamos United!

At 06 November, 2007 11:54, Blogger John said...

My take is a bit different:
1) Chicago - If you're gonna get beat, might as well lose to the champ
2) KC - even though they've won before maybe this time will help them get more fans
3) Houston
4) NE - having so many teams from this area doing so well is depressing--even the Celtics are supposed to do well this year

At 06 November, 2007 12:36, Anonymous Skippy said...

I could stand to see Chicago win. I would even hope Chicago wins if Blanco oversells one of his dives and breaks his jaw on an errant rock, rendering him unable to play in the Cup. Or is that giving in to the dark side?

At 06 November, 2007 12:52, Anonymous bdr said...

Long, lingering death for all of them.

But Ningland longest and lingeringest.

At 06 November, 2007 12:55, Anonymous matt w said...

True Fact #1: I was born and raised in Kansas City, a remarkably lovely town, really, and last lived there in '96, when I was fortunate to see the Wiz debut at a semi-crowded Arrowhead. And I remain a loyal Royal fan (shutup!) and a true blue Jayhawk (woot!), and maybe feel a little something for the pointyball squad.

True Fact #2: I feel nothing for the Wizards. Think it's kind of embarrassing MLS is still in KC, to tell the truth. Can't fathom why they haven't moved to Philly or Seattle or anywhere soccer fans exist in numbers.

But, having said that, Chicago is Pure Evil, New England is Deputy Pure Evil, and Houston is Deputy Assistant Pure Evil. So I guess I'm rooting for the Wizzies too, and hoping that a second star for their shirt induces some much-needed love for the game from the good people of the Heart of America.

By the way, are you suggesting there's something bad about chasing brightly-colored trollops?

At 06 November, 2007 13:14, Anonymous tucksider said...

wonderful piece.

i'll be politely hoping for the nobly-managed Fire to win out, but i vow to stop short of saying i'm "rooting" for them, lest i be perceived as having unrefined tastes.

At 06 November, 2007 13:31, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the behavioral suggestions. Other than wearing black (a given) I wasn't sure how to approach this coming match.

I can easily give a golf-clap for KC. I was born there after all, and there but for fortune, might have grown up a lonely Wiz fan.

Beyond KC, however, I can't offer much.

Houston repeating a Cup win would further eclipse DC's accomplishment of retaining the Supporter's Shield. So while I might otherwise offer them an occasional, "well done," I find myself currently restrained.

I can offer plenty to Chicago, but it all resembles Highlander-style taunts with lifted kilts and rude gestures. I'm not sure where that fits in your etiquette primer, so let's just hope it doesn't come to that. Hmm, do they make black kilts...?

That leaves New England. How can I possibly smile at their success? Perhaps you've offered me a way. They've been tagging along with champions for long enough. If they take home some silverware, we can take more pleasure than pity when next we squash them.

So I'll be there in black at RFK, and here's my preferences:

* I'd like to see KC lose.
* I'd really like to see New England lose.
* I'd really, really like to see Houston lose.
* I'd like to see Chicago get crushed by a blue-faced horde of pissed-off men in skirts. And lose.

I think I may enjoy this game after all!

- rke

At 06 November, 2007 13:38, Blogger elopingcamel said...

We mustn't encourage the Fire's poor behavior in the playoffs. While I'm glad that DC finally got the "We Can't Score Against Chicago In The Playoffs" monkey off their back, Chicago winning the Cup will feel like that small victory was for naught. Chicago must not win.
I agree that Houston winning twice in a row would also feel terrible.

At 06 November, 2007 13:43, Blogger Jimmy Chowda said...

I don't know, man. If New England wins, you'll never hear the end of it from us. Just look at Sox and Pat fans. We are lovable losers and insufferable winners.

At 06 November, 2007 17:56, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've been called out on mlsnet, time to step up:
[Annonymous K]

Real test. Calling out to soccer fans in the mid-Atlantic region. MLS Cup 2007 is going to be the greatest test of fandom in the league's history. We're back in a big, old stadium for the first time in a while and the home team is out. What kind of crowd and atmosphere are we going to be looking at in the final? Back in 2000, fans responded pretty well for a Chicago-Kansas City final. Seven years later, can they answer the call again?

At 06 November, 2007 19:18, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that I can stomach The Revs getting the US Open Cup/MLS Cup double. I also can't stomach Blanco at all.

So I guess it is Houston or KC, whoever wins on Saturday.

At 06 November, 2007 19:49, Blogger Landru said...

Your reasoning is impeccable and your words bear the same melody as that of church bells to the faithful. It is as you say. All of it. Except perhaps worse, but you cannot be blamed for trying to impose civility on a situation that can most politely be described as a suckfully suckful suck of suckitudinal suckiness. Your health, Sir.

At 06 November, 2007 22:05, Blogger Shatz... said...

I couldn't agree with you more on Houston and Chicago. Although I submit the enclosed as an example of why I will also not be supporting Kansas City.

I will be at Estadio RFK dressed all in black, save for a United scarf, politely and unfortunately applauding the endeavors of New England, only because Taylor Twellman is a Terp.


At 07 November, 2007 10:26, Blogger D said...

Matt W: There is nothing wrong with chasing after brightly colored trollops, but in comparison to a refined lady of taste dressed for the evening in black and red, whose sophistication in the world can not be questioned, well, the trollops seem like the follies of youth in comparison.

Chowda: The idea of the Revs fans becoming pre-2004 version of Sox fans (especially for what it meant later) is a frightful thought. To me, it seems better to lance this boil now.

Landru: My thanks sir.

Shatz: At least there was contact in that clip you linked to, as opposed to the reaction of Mr. white in a similar type situation. Still, your point is well taken.

At 07 November, 2007 21:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it comes to it, I intend to boo "Mr. White" every time he touches the ball, as I did last week for all the good it did us. I'll be adding Mr. Barrett to the list as well. Other than that, just hoping for the rare entertaining cup final game.


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