Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Midnight Riders Meet the Coach 2007

It was a scene straight out of a sports fanatic's dream. You step into the offices of your favorite team. Once inside, you ascend upon two grand escalators and take a U-turn into an exquisite luxury suite filled with rows of fine wooden chairs neatly lined before a corresponding mahogany presenter’s pedestal. Upon arrival, you are politely welcomed and upon joining about sixty or so of your peers neatly seated. You listen to some of the questions posed by those around you. If you are just as curiously inclined, you ask the manager of your favorite sports team anything your heart desires about your favorite club. Anything.

Well, Revs fans (specifically the Midnight Riders, the team's unofficial supporter's club) young and old were treated to this very fantastical proposition Sunday afternoon - free of charge - as manager Steve Nicol took questions from the very fans who colorfully chide Freddy Adu with "Child La-bor!" chants. Needless to say, this was the type of affair that would certainly never take place at 4 Yawkey Way or One TD BankNorth Garden.

The questions, ranging from topics such as the much-razzed Gillette Stadium FieldTurf pitch, Clint Dempsey's departure, the Reserve Team, were honest and unfiltered. Even a "when we get our own stadium" comment from Nicol himself drew a few skeptical smirks and smiles among the crowd. The gaffer's answers were insightful, engaging, and even colorful, (when asked of his impression of rookie Wells Thompson, Nicol wittingly responded "I don't do impressions") which indicated a certain informal ease among Nicol and his club's loyal supporters.

Say what you will about Nicol and his on-field tactics and managerial decisions, but give the man credit for facing the fans, many of whom posed very insightful queries, and responding to each question with more than the industry-standard one-line, blanket answer. How many professional sports managers or coaches would have the cajones to do the same?

Try picturing the evasive Bill Belichick in the same casual setting. You can't either, can you? Ah, therein lies the beauty of this grand occasion. While I do not profess to know Mr. Belichick, I can tell you that Nicol has the outgoing personality of one you could have a pint of Guiness with. Again, you'll be hard pressed to visualize Belichick in a similar position.

Call me a pipe dreamer if you must, but this sort of event is precisely what is missing from the modern sports landscape, one in which billions upon billions are pumped in by its very own fans, only to have these investments reciprocated with minimal team/fan interaction. The romanticism of fans engaging in casual conversation with members of their favorite team has been largely lost in many professional sports forums. That being said, a tip o' the old glass to Stevie Nicol and the Revolution organization for providing a refreshing reminder of why their fans love their club.

3 comments:

Blue Blooded Journo said...

For the record, the Riders are an unofficial supporters club. We have a great relationship with the team, but we remain unofficial (which is a good thing).

NFLPatriot said...

Great writeup, Brian!

BrianTheOC said...

thanks guys! I appreciate the comments!

BBJ, I'll fix that detail right now.