Sunday, November 30, 2008

Creating soccer tradition

While watching college football Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving Day, the Day After Thanksgiving, and Two Days After Thanksgiving, it occurred to me that Americans love to make associations with holidays and sports. The easiest one is, well, Thanksgiving and American football. Another that springs to mind is the Fourth of July and baseball. Another? How about Christmas and the NBA. Heck, a case could be made for lacrosse and Memorial Day.

So how do you incorporate soccer into the American sports psyche? Associate it with an American holiday, that's how!

Which leads us to our next question: which holiday should soccer align itself with? The Ides of March will and First Kick will fall within a week of each other next year. But how many of us can recall soccer balls clutched on Ides of Marches(?) past? Not I. Probably not you, either. No worries. I may have a better suggestion.

In keeping with the recent holiday theme, why not Thanksgiving Eve? Coincide the day before one of the biggest American holidays with MLS Cup.

Keep it on ABC. Throw in the obligatory half-hour pre-match show. Get Becks to say something cheery. It'll be great.

It would work way better than the standard Sunday before Thanksgiving. Why? Because there's absolutely no American football to compete with. The only sports competition is a random college football game, an early-season college basketball game, and - maybe - The Wizard of Oz.

Plus MLS Cup is as high stakes as it gets in American pro soccer. Thus, it's a far bigger storyline than any of those other options. Plus, 99% of the nation has no work the following day, so why not sit in front of the couch with the family to watch a high-profile event?

It may not catch fire instantly. It may take a few years for Americans to habitually set the DVR for ABC come Thanksgiving Eve. But after awhile, it can become a tradition. Kids who are in their elementary years right now will grow used to this. When they get older, they will come to expect pro soccer the night before Thanksgiving, as will their parents.

And that's how could you further the sport into the American consiousness.


I may have mentioned this before, but when I hit adolescence, it was my dream to play in the NHL for the Boston Bruins. Ocassionally, if homework, offseason conditioning* and work-work allow it, I'll catch up with the B's on a slow night.

(*Yes, I am in offseason conditioning mode at the moment. What did you expect? That I was gonna get good enough to play NCAA soccer by simply writing about it? )

Well the past Friday and Saturday nights, the Bruins sported their new alternate jerseys against the Islanders and Red Wings, respectively. And what do you know? They won both games.

Do you know where I'm going with this? No. Well, here you go.

The Revolution need to do the same. No, not beat the Islanders or Red Wings. They need to bring out an alternate jersey. A red alternate jersey. Yes.

It befuddles me why MLS is like the only pro American sports league that does not utilize a third/alternate jersey. Mid-season re-branding? That's okay.* But alternate jerseys? No! I mean, even the girl's high school basketball team my friend coaches dons a third jersey every so often. Variety is the spice of life. So lets add some spice (MLS marketers: spice = cash) and get the Revs in red...or silver...or neon green if you're in a 2007/08 Chelsea thirds type-of-mood.

(*See Los Angeles Galaxy, circa July 2007.)

I'm not saying a red jersey will lift the Revolution to score goals galore, heal Taylor Twellman battered body, or even become the catalyst to a two-match winning streak. But it can't hurt, right?


Westbrook Diarist said...

How about sporting a throwback jersey?

For what it's worth, I'd prefer nods to old-school teams such as the Fall River Marksmen or New Bedford Whalers, two teams that existed during American soccer's so-called Golden Era (the 1920s and 1930s).

Not only would it give you your alternate jersey, but it would tie the Revolution to the roots of American soccer.

BrianTheOC said...

I totally agree...I think a Marksmen or even a Boston Minuteman (colors would be almost identical) would be a nice tip o' the cap to the roots of American soccer here in New England.