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The blah is back....and here to stay?

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So if I haven't mentioned it before, I'll do so now; I think that Bigsoccer, which has served as the nerve center/incubator of American soccer fans and culture for the better part of a decade now, ain't the place it used to be. Shall I be polite and say that it's at a low ebb just now? Or offer that the bigger it's gotten, the more it's sprouted separate a myriad of subforums, ranging from South Asian Cuisine and Michigan Municipal Politics to The Slightly Creepy Free For All Community, the more it has lost its way?

That may be part of the reason - and one given by a lot of old-school, been-there-from-the-start types as they abandoned it en masse for the more cozy, dedicated confines of MF a few years ago. But it's not reason enough for me, given that when I do go on BS, I spend far more time in the off-topics than anywhere else. Much more. Fact of the matter is that nowadays, the soccer-related fora - specifically the MLS News and Analysis and Metro boards - which I frequented most, uh, frequently are a fucking chore to read, and that's being polite. Not to evoke a golden age of yore that never really was (and I go back to the good old days, when Soccer American Graffiti really was the online US soccer community, along with but the BS boards - Metro, in particular - used to be home to a compact but hardy collection of sharp, critical, well-spoken drunkards supporters. Guys (and a few gals) I liked online, and often enough when I ran into them offline, too.

Now? Too high a count of lotus-eaters and taurine-guzzling shills for my taste. The ratio of exclamatory pap and unfounded assumptions to worthwhile talk must be absolutely incredible, were there anyone masochistic enough to try and calculate it. Whether that's the fault of BS, or a sign that MLS and Metro have managed to slough off that type of core supporter forever - the kind I tend to identify with - I really don't know. Maybe a little of both.

That said, there are still quite a few Bigsoccer posters who I make a point to read because they're damn good, and a few of them seem to be involved with the "Bigsoccer Blog". One of them, Matrim55, weighed in after the Metro-DC match last week with an assertion that "The hate is back." He makes good points, writing entertainingly as always about how hatred of DC took a back seat for a time to hatred of Lalas, what he represented, and what he made of this team. But those days are over now. At least for him. It's time to eat bread again....and hate the DC.

I'm happy he's feeling that way, but as for me...pfft. Pretty much the whole 2006 season has been a pfft for me, for reasons I've touched upon here before (not least in this post last week), but it really hit home last Wednesday night, when I felt...not a damn thing.

How strange. Like any self-respecting Metro supporter, games against DC always meant something special; to try and travel if at all possible, but at the very least to buy my ticket for the emotional roller-coaster as it careened up and down, this team being only one of two that could actually (and I should be ashamed to admit this - or should I?) make me emit tears of rage - or sadness.

We're now six months into Mateschnitz's Brave New World; you've got to figure if it's going to happen, if the "oh, it's only a name, it's still the same team, our team" type of mentality is going to take hold, it's going to do so soon. With momentum on our side, important points to gain, and the much-adored architect of their dynasty on our bench, this was really one to stir the emotions up.

Yet, it didn't. I felt nothing, really. No excitement. No gusto. No ardor. No hatred. Had DC won (an outcome I'm forced into half-hoping for) I couldn't have cared less. Had the Red Donks won, an ever-so-slightly lower level of indifference would have been the result. Not the triumphal glee of old, but the emotional fillip experienced when something bad but insignificant happens to a bad person, i.e. a child molesting embezzler's summer cottage burns down thanks to a wiring fault. Yeah, that's the most effusive I can feel now about this team beating DC. Thanks, RB. And MLS.

Another one tonight. Get your hate on if you like, shrug dismissively if you're like me. You can get your preview from the DC boys if you like; The Kin of Fish appears to be occupied with far more important duties (congrats to him!), and I'm not really the preview-making kind of guy. I feel a little sad for the guys heading down to RFK tonight; it has the whiff of the very ill-fated about it. With a tired, half-strength team and Arena being quoted as, and I paraphrase, not needing nor giving a rat's ass about this competition right now*, I predict a shellacking. But who knows. I'll be doing something else this evening, something other than giving my money to MLSnet and hoping against hope that the stream works correctly.

*I have my own deep skepticism about the conventional view that Arena=our savior, but I'll save that for a little later, so as not to sound any more incessantly churlish than I already do.

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