Wednesday, September 27, 2017

[D.C. Untied] One more to go...

One more game at RFK and none of the RFK faithful I’ve talked to have any sort of mixed feelings about it. We’re just sad. It’s the end of an era and thanks to an incredibly shitty on field performance this year we don’t even have the hope of hosting a playoff game or two.

On October 22nd, 21 years of D.C. United tradition will come to an end. 21 years of tailgating memories in Lot 8, of getting sweaty and beer drenched on the Loud Side, dreams realized, dreams crushed, winning, losing, making new friends, saying final goodbyes to friends lost…

Saturday was fun. Winning by four goals was fun. Seeing Patrick Mullins out there getting his groove back was fun. But the best part was the energy in the packed stands in sections 127 and 128 and far across to the other end. People jammed shoulder to shoulder, drums pounding, flags waving. You can’t buy that kind of passion with a groupon for a free beer and $20 tickets.

Who exactly is going to be turning out to games week in and week out if they alienate long time supporters? We’ve continued to show up game after game, through rain, snow, blistering heat, massive losing streaks, years where Own Goal is  a contender for our highest scorer…

All we asked in return for 21 years of support was space in the new stadium to continue to provide the atmosphere on game days.

Functionality to mount large tifo like they do in places like Kansas City and even Columbus? No, but we’ll continue to talk about tifo, ask the players about it, and wonder why the D.C. United supporters never make any anymore.

Safe standing like literally every other new stadium being built? No, but have some unsafe bleachers as a compromise.

Storage space for large flags and drums? No, we hate those and (I can only assume) are going to be blaring stupid music instead.

Somewhere to just hang a goddamn banner? No, but we’ve got advertising space up to your eyeballs.

A scrap of space to continue our tailgating before a game? Hell, no… you can have a patch of dirt with no equipment and no storage space or the ability to bring any in for 2018 only. Stand around in the mud with a red solo cup you brought from home and no food like an asshole or come drop $$$$$$ on truffle fries at the Champions Club.

And the final straw: you have to become a season ticket holder to even enter the supporters section. What a nice “fuck you” to long time supporters who are only able to make it to a handful of games a year--whether for geographic, monetary, or time constraint reasons--or who are just unable to make the financial (and time) commitment required up front. Sorry, plebes, you’re not good enough for our new field.

But good news, folks, they’ve sold 24 of 29 available luxury suites!!

I sure do hope those corporate tycoons enjoy themselves at Audi Field.

Saturday was bittersweet for any number of reasons and the win was just one. Too late to mean anything for the lost season, we saw Mullins in form, finally shaking off the injuries and confidence issues that had dogged him all year. And we saw what might have been if D.C. United had brought in a real defensive midfielder like Russell Canouse before the season started rather than waiting until we were last in the league and struggling in August.

But more than anything else, it was bittersweet to know that there would be only one more chance to experience the thrill of being in deep in the heart of the D.C. United supporters section.

It doesn’t have to come to an end but unless the front office actually addresses our concerns for next season--which they seem to be unwilling to--it will.

Get ready for the banter about D.C. United trading racoons for crickets at Audi Field.

In the immortal (and now deleted words) of Bilal Hamid: Loyalty?? Loyalty is fake news.


And a side note: I heard from a friend of mine at the game that his wife wasn’t there to see Patrick Mullins score 4 goals because she had been turned away at the gate. Why? Why had she been turned away at the gate? Well, their group had included another woman with a special needs son. And that son had… a backpack. Yes, a backpack. And security wouldn’t let him in with it.

That is some Grade A Bullshit right there. Arbitrary security restrictions are more than just an inconvenience. They are bad publicity. Do you think my friends are going to tell their friends (middle class with kids!) that they had a great time at the soccer game? No, they’re going to say it was too much of a hassle and they’re outraged about the idiotic security restrictions.

24 of 29 luxury suites may be sold and so much thought given over to what the “deluxe” game day experience at Audi Field will be like--valet?!--but I want every single one of the front office staff to experience what it’s like for the rest of us on game day.

Take the Metro. Experience how expensive it is and how long it can take. (2 hours from Arlington, the last time I tried. I barely made kickoff.) Make sure you have your SMARTrip card! Whoops, single tracking and half the stations on your line are closed! Should have left 5 hours early.

Good luck getting your stroller on Metro if the elevator is broken! Oh, you need some extra toys and water for your kids? Too bad. No backpacks. Wait outside with the special needs kid or fuck off home.

Oh, it’s a weeknight game and you’re coming from work on Metro? Fuck you. No, you can’t bring in a bag that has a change of clothes in it and your lunch tupperware in it.

You kid spilled their $6 soda all over the floor because of no bottle cap? Fuck you, we already got your money. No caps on any type of bottle inside the stadium.

Was that a swear?! At a professional sporting event?! Are you standing?! My word. SECURITY!!!!!!!!!

Loyalty?? Loyalty is fake news.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

[D.C. Untied] Thoughts on Audi Field and the end of the 2017 season

When I think back on the last few games, the strongest memory I have is from the eighth minute of stoppage time of a game that would not end, just leaning over as far as I could on the concrete wall separating section 128 from the field and shouting at Kofi Opare as he started to scuffle with Orlando defender Danny Toia. “It’s not worth it, Kofi! It’s not worth it!”

Minutes earlier Kofi had scored D.C.’s only goal of the game, his second of the season. Kofi didn’t even pausing to celebrate. He just hustled back as fast as he could go, the one man in all of RFK keeping hope alive that maybe there would be a come-from-behind last second equalizer like there had been at the Red Bulls game last fall. Two goals in 6 minutes. We’d done it before.

Spoiler alert: we wouldn’t be doing it that night.

Friday, September 8, 2017

5 Years 5 Stars A.B.C-Z 五周年おめでとう!!! [Part 3 of 4]

(SLT tour 2016, repping Hashimoto)

Following the MC in the arena shows was the Junior group performance, giving A.B.C-Z a chance to rest and change costumes. In the hall shows, the change in turns during the MC. And then it’s into the leisurely rap-ballad “Glory Days.” In all the years I’ve been listening to and obsessing over pop music (from my earliest memories, basically) I’ve never been much of a lyrics person or a ballad person so stand-and-sing songs like “Glory Days” tend to leave little impression on me. It’s a pleasant song, though, with some nice harmonies and register switches to falsetto and back from Hashimoto.

Friday, September 1, 2017

5 Years 5 Stars A.B.C-Z 五周年おめでとう!!! [Part 2 of 4]

(Packing up my uchiwa collection, 2017)

“5 Stars 5 Years” begins with a short video introducing A.B.C-Z. Each member wears a costume representing a different era of their career: the plastic space suits of “Space Traveler,” the garish plaids of “Never my Love,” the floral coats from “花言葉”... And then the stage lights go up and bang! IT’S A.B.C-Z!!!!!

Hashimoto: さぁ Fantastic!!
Totsuka: もっと Exciting!!
Kawai: グッと Flying!!
All together: 始める そう Reboot!

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