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  • Sober Second Thoughts: summer vacation


    Wednesday was a holiday for this writer. After a season of passionless negativity, if that makes sense, I wanted to find some joy again.

    So, forgive me. You’re not getting a tactically break down, player evaluation or big picture view today. Instead, a feeling, if that makes sense, about what this team means four and half years later.

    The summer of 2007 was hot and packed full of football. Unfortunately, most of the football played by the home teams in Toronto (Canada u-20 and TFC) was dire. But, it didn’t matter. The summer was also full of joy. The sport had arrived and the good days were surely not far behind.

    There is no need to recap what has gone wrong since. Instead, let’s focus on the one thing that has gone right. In 2007 a community emerged. Leafs Nation this was not – it was younger, poorer and drunker. Sure, there were a few there for the party that would inevitably end, but there were also many that were there because they had waited a lifetime for it. Now, those days seem a lifetime ago.

    [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK] Despite constant threats and worries that the community would disappear altogether, it’s still there and it’s tighter, more cynical, still often well refreshed and prone to extreme reactions. It’s grown to be a family of sorts and like all families it has its share of drama and its fractions. But, ultimately it’s still there and still loyal.

    From my vantage point in the front row of 113, behind a microphone for It’s Called Football and on my laptop I can sometimes lose sight of that community. I end up spending too much time focusing on the negative and not enough on the experience. That’s why I took a step back. I stood higher up. Talked to friends. Enjoyed the game without analysing it. It felt good.

    And, it left me feeling encouraged. If you strip down any club in the world it’s only as strong as its fans. I truly believe that. The old adage is that the players and managers come and go, but the fans always remain.

    Is the TFC experience as fresh and as exciting as it was in 2007? No, clearly not. But, it’s still there, maturing every game. The young men that sang Danny Dichio’s name then will stand as old men in the stands telling their grandson’s about how the seat cushions flew.

    That’s important. Sometimes you just have to step back to see it.

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