Fans' View

Fans’ View: Just not that into U

Photo: Earl Gardner

It’s been a long season, certainly chronologically, but especially emotionally. I think it’s time the Union and their fans called in a relationship expert…

Me.

But following a team is nothing like being in a relationship, you say.

“Ha!,” I say.

Let’s just look at this year as a perfect example of a potential romantic tie.

When you first meet someone you’re interested in, you’re delighted by their very presence and you can write off their “idiosyncrasies” as endearing.

Remember that season opening away draw at Portland and how incredibly exciting it was as a result? What about how the Union gave the equalizer up in the 93rd minute? You said, “Hey, a draw at Portland to start the season? I’ll take it!” Sound familiar?

So things are moving along, and you and your new paramour are getting to know one another. Sure, some things they do are silly and you don’t understand them, but remember how you stayed up all night talking and you both loved The Smiths?

I certainly talked myself into the team while they put forth a good effort early in the season and lacked results. I can’t be the only one.

As you grow more comfortable with each other and see what each is bringing to the relationship, you both grow a little bolder. Maybe this time when your new love does something you don’t like you have your first fight.

This is definitely the trade of Jack McInerney after which Union fans were classic Negadelphians, in the grand Eagles tradition.

But you settle the fight and you emerge stronger than ever as a couple. You realize it’s time to figure out where you really stand, and the DTR (Define the Relationship) conversation rears its ugly, yet necessary, head. Are you going to give it a go or are you going to throw in the towel?

Getting Andrew Wenger wasn’t the most popular move in the world, but the team emerged better from the trade. And that DTR? The direct comparison here is the firing of John Hackworth when the Union front office showed they wouldn’t stand for mediocrity.

You stick together and things blossom like roses in spring. It’s lovely and you can’t remember ever fighting or doubting what you had with your new love.

See May 31 to September 13. What an incredible stretch!

Things are going so well, the emotions couldn’t be stronger, and you decide you really care for your new love: It’s time to take the next step.

On September 16, the Union took on the Seattle Sounders for the US Open Cup trophy. Emotions have never been higher in PPL Park or the city for this team.

Things don’t go as planned after you’ve moved in and you start to doubt all of those little things again: Maybe he’s not cute; maybe she really is annoying. Maybe that stretch run wasn’t so amazing. Maybe this love is just like the rest of them.

After the loss to the Sounders, the Union have shown some nasty old habits, many of which I hoped were gone forever. And the loss to the Sounders forced me to confront my great fear about the team, that even when they play their absolute best, they can’t finish the job against the top tier opposition. I don’t want to pile on Rais Mbolhi, but I’m going to pile on Rais Mbolhi. That move was probably the most Union move of all time. Goalkeeper was not a problem screaming for a solution, any fan or outsider could see that. One mark of the 5-year existence is creating a problem when there wasn’t one and then seeing that problem fester, and nothing exemplifies this black more than the Mbolhi signing and recent gaffe in the Chicago game.

All the doubts pile up and you’re left with one big question: Is this the one?

Only you can answer that.

For me, fandom is a lot like a relationship and this year reminds me that nothing good comes easy; in fact, good things take work. And the nice thing about a relationship is that you’ve got someone who (presumably) cares about it as much as you do.

I don’t doubt that those boys in blue want it as much as we do. Let’s hope they can show it.

Credit for the idea for this post goes to fellow Union fan, Brad Pearson. Thanks Brad!

5 Comments

  1. Fun analogy. For me, I think I would better describe my relationship with Union as ‘drinking buddies’. I don’t get too upset with the little stupid idiosyncracies, like never picking up the tab or buying unnecessary goalkeepers. They’re still fun to hang out with. But if we get to the point where they hit on my wife or puke in my car, we’re done.

    • James Lockerbie says:

      +1 only I was hoping they would be the cool guy that wins a trip to the mls cup finals.

      As far as a relationship analogy sometimes one partner is a little more attentive to the needs of the relationship. I think it’s the Unions turn to tend to the healthiness of the relationship.

  2. I think of it more as a family thing. Like the little brother or weird uncle that keeps getting into trouble and that you have to keep bailing out of jail. I live in Philly and they are my “little brother” soccer team. That will never change and I will always have season tickets no matter what because soccer is my extended family and I want to see it succeed here in the USA. However, I would hate to have get to he point where I live up to the advice I gave my (real) brother-in-law who lives in NYC but hates the Red Bulls. Still get season tickets but buy the jersey’s from the 18 other teams.

  3. Former Season Ticket Holder Greg says:

    We broke up. I told her I need more. I’ve recommended we see other people over this offseason. I’ve already found comfort in a sky blue Mancunian. I also told her she has daddy issues. That didn’t go over too well.

    If we can’t patch things up I’ll get visitation rights on the weekends and occasional weekdays. But only by tv and only at my place.

  4. Article is great, comments made me laugh out loud! Agreement all around.

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