There’s light snow out my East York windows this afternoon. My computer keeps firing MLS set-up stories at me, and on this day in history, none of them is registering on my exhausted, adrenalized brain.
It’s a gray, tired day, in other words. And just at the moment, I have no new insights into Toronto FC’s roster development, whether the new attack is going to work, or how that smouldering kill crater in the middle of the TFC defence is going to be filled.
Instead, I’m day dreaming.
My mind is wiping away the snow, painting the sky blue, happily imagining the deep, dark green of the BMO Field turf, surrounded by thousands and thousands of delighted, excited red-clad soccer fans.
We’re not just going to hear the roar of the crowd when Dwayne DeRosario is announced on opening day against the reborn Seattle Sounders. We’re going to feel it.
Maybe it’s how close the grandstands are to each other. Maybe there’s something in the way the wind sweeps down from above. Toronto’s little gem of a soccer stadium holds noise like a lively, pounding indoor arena. The noise doesn’t dissipate. It swirls, whirls and builds. The excitement escalates. Once a big roar ignites, it seems to inspire the noisy to make still more noise.
And when it happens under a gleaming sky, with the lake right there and the skyline over there, BMO Field can be an utterly wonderful place to watch a game. Its bare-bones simplicity neatly underscores the overall no-hype approach, making the noise all that much more pure.
If Toronto FC slides into legitimate playoff contention this season, healing the hole at the back and morphing into an inspired, dangerous side, there is going to be a tidal wave of noise from the west end of the downtown lakeshore.
I find myself yearning for a pint on King Street, a great procession of red through the main roads of Parkdale, and that wonderful feeling of seeing the green field for the new season’s very first time.
Look at that! It’s already stopped snowing! Sky still very gray – but at least it’s a light gray and not one of those brooding doom roofs we’ve seen all too many of this winter.
Are you feeling it, fans? How many times did you look out the window today, wishing it were time to head for the park? On this most primal of sports-fan levels, it doesn’t even matter today which 11 men will fill those TFC shirts come kickoff. This is about missing the experience, the friends, the passion – the noise!
Can you close your eyes, and see DeRo’s number 14 shirt darting dangerously through a confused Seattle defence, as he works a deft give-and-go with fan hero Danny Dichio, and races in to roof his first Toronto FC goal – maybe not even five minutes into the match?
That’s gonna be a noise. That thing will show up on radar. Airplanes will be diverted. Windows will rattle downtown. Seagulls will concede the Exhibition grounds to the sparrows.
Okay, nothing’s going to budge the seagulls. But you can feel it, can’t you?
Now we just need to get there – tough out February and March, and hope this renovated roster is every bit as improved as we are all daring to dream. It will be opening day, after all – the greatest day of dreams in any sport that anybody loves.
Regularly scheduled roster scrutiny will resume soon enough. I just wanted to pause for a moment, and remember why we all came here.