There is Only One Acceptable Outcome: Vote DCenters
The DCenters has been nominated for Best US Soccer Blog over at USSoccer.Com's "Best of 2007" site. Now, I confess that upon looking at the other blogs nominated, I admit that I was impressed merely to be in their company. Du Nord, is there, with Ives, the Goffather, Spangler, Josh, the official Women's and Men's National Team Blog, and the perpetually giving gift of Ray Hudson's worldview at Hudsonia. That's some seriously talented group, and for a time I was "happy just to be nominated." So in celebration a few beverages were consumed, and I slipped into a green-tinged sleep with the taste of liquorice on my mouth.
Suddenly, half aware that I was still in my apartment, I saw Ryan Nelsen standing over me. "Happy to be nominated?" He gave a short laugh that ended in a sneer. "That means you are content to lose. Have we taught you nothing?"
I was taken aback, simply because I thought Nelsen was overseas. "If we were in a competition with Arsenal, ManU, Barca, Madrid, and Celtic, would you be happy we were just playing there?" Nelsen's features warped into those of Tom Soehn. "No, you wouldn't. You, and I, would expect us to go out and win. And if C. Rinaldo flopped to the ground, you'd want Ben to put the boot in and earn the caution." Again, the features of my visitor melted and warped while my legs were held in a strange paralysis, and Ben Olsen now accosted me. "Yeah, you're writing with three other great guys. You have to trust your teammates, and work hard, that's what this league is about." Once more the visitor's features rippled, and Herman Edwards spoke into his headset. "I'm not exactly sure why I'm here, but then again I don't seem to know what I'm doing most days. But still -- I have to ask the question: 'Why do we play?' You should know the answer." Then there was a loud cacophony of noise, as if every tormented keeper who had ever seen a ball move in a way that would make a physicist cry and erase the memory in their T-81 was suddenly stretched on the rack. A bright light filled the air, and an intense heat washed over me. As my eyes adjusted, there, before me, was Marco Etcheverry. He chose not to speak to me in English, but somehow I still understood him. "Do you accept a place among the ranks, or do you wish to lead with honor? These are the lessons. You fight, you spit, you claw, you grab, you push, you run, you scream, you kick, and you do it with style. That is what matters. Do not shame us."
I awoke with a start, and knew that through whatever divine or diabolic provenance had brought me these visions, they were true. It is not enough just to be nominated, I want to win this thing. Yes, the other blogs have great writers -- talented writers. They may have better connections, better access, more reliable news, better site designs, or what have you, but they do not have the indomitable spirit of this blog. And if they are good blogs, as they all are, that just makes the prize more worth winning.
And so I now ask you, readers, to support us. Not merely that, I ask you to go forth and bring us more votes. For this is no longer about voting for this blog. No, I ask for your vote because of what it represents.
The mythology of American Soccer Fandom, indeed, of US Soccer itself, is that of the gritty amateur triumphing against the seasoned experts. It is the story of fans gathering at odd hours to watch games in dark locales, of passion raging white hot against a world that was indifferent at best, and condescending at worst. It is the story of fans who have yelled, cried, celebrated, drank, smoked... and built what we had through our own collaborative efforts. If this blog is anything, it is the same story as yours, as we have nothing but what we ourselves have made. The internet is made for half-baked, incoherent, and pretentious screeds from semi-anonymous individuals. Let us not turn it over to the media machines, but instead let us reward ourselves, the fans. And if you vote for us, in addition to rewarding the many examples of fine writing on this site, then you also vote for yourself.
I also challenge Mr. Ives, or Mr. Goff, or any other writer of a nominated blog to publicly debate me and mine on why their blog should be preferred as the best US Soccer Blog. Will you meet us, or must we proclaim your cowardice?
Ladies and gentlemen, this blog may not win, but if we do not win it will not be for lack of trying. Short of repurposing this site as an RSL blog to take advantage of the various RSL vote-bots our there, we will defend our right to be known as the best US Soccer Blog of 2007. Our pride does not let us shrink from a challenge. Our passion gives us the courage to take on these long odds. And the tradition of the team we dedicated ourselves to demands no less effort from us then we have demanded, and received, from them. No, if we lose it will not match the feeling of loss I felt after Chicago, and a victory would not equal the joy I felt in 2004, but there is silverware to be had. And we shall need you, dear readers. Not just for your vote, but for your support in finding others to vote for us. The major media blogs run hundreds deep, but we believe in that rare power that comes from the madness of crowds. Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you and those you can reach with your voice: Vote for the DCenters.