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Not ready to make nice.

The halfway mark: Some analyze the league, Metrologist analyzes itself

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I admit I was a little surprised, but not totally flabbergasted recently when Dan R, major domo of the utterly essential, newsbreaking and wiki-worthy, let slip that he nearly shut down the site a few weeks back.

"What I didn't write in this article is that I almost closed the site a couple of weeks ago. The website was supposed to support the team, but at this juncture, one of my biggest reasons to support this team is this very site. So please, let me call this team what I want. Lots of people like the nickname."

Had he done so, that would have left Metro diehards with just one place to congregate - a place that has certainly seen better days, at least as far as Metro commentary goes (but hey, its just peaking now if you're into immense off topic random thought threads, cut-and-pastings of tiresome, aggrieved emails to Jamie Trecker or Paul Gardner, and a smattering of freaky Michelle Lissel and Max Bretos fanboys); I would wager that most of the colorful, worthwhile Metro posters that migrated exclusively to MF a few years ago wouldn't slosh back as a result, but simply find something else to do with their lives, and that would be a loss. Had he done so, he would have put me out of a home page and one of the ten or so sites I check religiously throughout the day, everyday. And had he done so, I would have totally understood why, and not blamed him a bit for it. I've come so close to doing the same thing here, and I've got a whole hell of a lot less history, faithful readers, and personal investment in this humble endeavor than he does with MF.

Why throw in the towel now? you might ask. After all, negotiated the tumult of the past six months, and especially the first few weeks, as deftly as possible. Somehow, it - he - found a way to define MF being broadly against the whole sale/name-change debacle while keeping the allegiance of those who remain for it - a delicate balancing act that some (yours truly, for example) couldn't do. The first couple months were awfully tough for anyone who put time and energy into red and black, so Metro diehards got a free pass to vanish then. If it's six months on and you're still here, the sting ought to be fading away a little, no?

Well, I can't speak for Dan R at MF, but I don't think it's fading. In fact, the above paragraphs are less about Metrofanatic, more a prologue to my own thoughts on this site, infinitesmally less significant, but an effort all the same. You may have noticed - or maybe you didn't, so take a moment to scroll down the page, or else just trust me on this - that I've been posting here less and less frequently as the season goes on. There are some good reasons for that: a hefty workload which only recently abated, the World Cup, and an extended trip abroad are but a few. Suspend your disbelief for a moment as I outlandishly claim that the first half of the MLS regular season isn't a nailbiting dramafest, demanding blow-by-blow deconstruction.

But sprawling once-a-month-posts do not a very interesting or topical blog make; (realizing that, I'm tempted to quote Ferris Bueller after the credits: what are you doing here, anyway?) I've fallen off the pace because it just isn't a lot of fun following this team. Not because they've been mostly bad and mostly rudderless most of the season; Metro has been very bad and very rudderless for practically all of its existence. We're used to that. We revel in that, almost as much as we burned to get out of that rut. You could write a lot of funny, sad, angry stuff about a bad, bad team. No team in MLS has has more funny, sad, angry stuff written about it than the Metros over the first 11 years.

No, for me it hasn't been much fun and I've written next to nothing for one reason; despite all the language and symbol gestures we prickly supporters might make amongst ourselves, we're still referring to a team named after, emblazoned with, controlled by a fizzy drink maker now. It's just not the same. That's still hard to block out, to make obscure, and we can only succeed to a point. Beyond that, I steadfastly believe that whatever success the Red Bull experiment might have in the short-term (a cup win here or there, perhaps) the end result will be failure. Failure that dents their bottom line a little and really does a job on us. It won't be good for American soccer, depending on how and when it shakes out, but more importantly, it won't be good for us as diehard fans, supporters of a certain vision. It's hard to look out for the success of a team, or the growth of its support, when you're thinking like that.
A few years ago, some of us would throw the term aguante around the Metro boards and stands. What's aguante? Let's ask Youtube.

You can substitute whatever corollary of "passion," from whichever country you desire. Whatever. There's simply something perverse and futile in an American soccer fan, much less a Metro fan accustomed to denatured sub-5000 crowds, seeing that and thinking "that's what we're going for." Perverse and futile, because by the time an MLS crowd has a fraction of a fraction of that size and passion, I'll be long dead and gone. Yet that's been the dream and the objective all the same. To get to something like that, even if it was only a couple hundred of us.

The simple fact (and the thing that makes "Embrace The Colors" ever more irritating, stupid and phony a slogan each time I see it) is that no decent amount of people are ever, ever going to feel that passionate about "Red Bull." That's what I think. I daresay that if I'm wrong about that and some hundreds of people went nuts with Red Bull aguante, I'd be repulsed enough to consider rescinding my membership with the human race. I wouldn't want to know any of those people, that's for damn sure.
But I don't think it's really possible. I don't think there are enough people willing to make themselves, quite literally, "passionate" tools. If you feel that way, there's only one real sensible stance to take, as far as I can see - you want to see Red Bull fail, and the quicker the better.

In the past few months, I've discovered that's hardly an enjoyable way to exist as a fan, and even less a motivation to blog.

All this - what ARE you doing still reading? - might seem like its leading to the winding-up of this blog. Unexpectedly (as in, when I started a little while ago, I wasn't sure what I'd be writing at this point) it isn't. Ah shit you say, what a waste of my time when I could have been reading Deadspinor something. Well, maybe. But it's a good time to be reading - and writing, as it were - about soccer in the US; there's a blog community worth being a part of. So I think I'll stick around a little bit longer. Happy halfway point.

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