One Grown Man: Celebrity Mailbag Edition
Andrew Dixon returns with a tribute to a favorite columnist, picking up on the issues in Major League Soccer and the US National Team.
MIAMI, FL (May 20, 2008) USSoccerPlayers -- It’s time to open up the One Grown Man Mailbag.
Our first question comes from T. Soehn in SE Washington, DC who asks, “Should I be dusting off my resume?”
You might want to start checking it for typos. For the second straight year, DC United has gotten off to a horrendous start. You are DEAD LAST in the East, only two points ahead of an expansion team overall and the proud owners of the worst goal differential in the League. After getting out-coached in the playoffs last year, this is not exactly the start DC fans were hoping for.
Yes, Luciano Emilio is playing like Emilio Estevez right now, Ben Olsen is watching as many games as I am and you have new players on the back line. But there is more than enough talent to get results, especially against fellow strugglers like Chivas USA who were missing almost half of their team
How bad is it? Atiba Harris to marauded down the right side and had a hand in all three goals. Atiba Harris isn’t good enough yet to do that against anyone in MLS.
The offense still looks predictable and the defense is not exactly making anyone forget the 2000 KC Wizards. That’s not a good look for DC or you.
Our next question comes from an E. Buddle in Carson, CA, who asks “So, I fell off harder than Coolio, huh? How you like me now?”
Ok, maybe I need to upgrade that to Boyz II Men because at least they pop up every once in awhile to sing the national anthem or something.
I’ll admit, those were three well taken goals. They were also the first goals of the season and it’s still not at the same frequency as earlier in your career when you earned a call up to the National Team.
However, what makes your goals important is that, should they continue, it lessens the pressure on David Beckham. It doesn’t matter how many great passes Beckham serves up. If there’s no one else there to finish them, this team isn’t going very far. It’s a major reason they didn’t make the playoffs last year and led people to wonder if Beckham was worth all the fuss.
Well he is, but his goals of helping LA win a title and increasing the worldwide visibility of MLS will only happen if everyone around him does their job. That includes scoring goals consistently during the run of play.
Keep scoring and I’ll bring it up to En Vogue.
We have a letter here from an M. Wilbon in downtown DC who writes, “I make one comment about minor league fans throwing streamers and suddenly I’m getting called out by soccer fans and the MLS Commissioner. What’s the deal?”
Aside from calling some of the most passionate fans in the league “minor league” and "a disgrace” your overall statement belied a lack of understanding of the game.
The throwing of streamers are anything but hurtful to the reputation of the game. Rather it is in tune with scenes repeated at stadiums all over Europe and especially South America where the game is more than just the game. It’s a celebration of the sport the fans love with a passion that surpasses most of what you speak about on PTI everyday. Every match is a party, marked by singing, chants, drums, jumping and yes, streamers. Commissioner Garber AKA “the Don” correctly used the example of the recent Boca Juniors-River Plate match in Argentina as evidence of this festive atmosphere.
In this era of pro sports where NBA arenas pump in artificial sounds, baseball fans sun themselves or sit on their hands waiting for something to happen and football fans drink crazy amounts of beer to numb themselves against the cold, how about not pandering to the anti-soccer crowd and take some time salute a crowd that borrows from the time honored traditions of the sport and creates the kind of atmosphere that makes you want to go the park?
Here’s a letter via international air mail from an M. Orozco in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, who writes, “Did I really get a call up to the National Team, while playing in MEXICO?!?!?!?”
Yes, you did, young man and it’s about time the American soccer scene start realizing that Mexican soccer doesn’t begin and end with El Tri. There is a very competitive, skillful and well paying league that is thriving in our own hemisphere which is, no matter how much we in the US try to deny, better than MLS.
Perhaps the US is still smarting from losing New Mexico native Edgar Castillo, to the Mexican side but calling you up makes sense as you have established yourself with San Luis in the Mexican First Division. Other players like José Francisco Torres and Luis Ángel Landín could all follow suit and have a chance to represent their country of birth. US coaches, who have seemingly long ignored Mexican American players and the MFL in general, are seeing some of our own flourish there. Let's hope they finally get the point.
It would behoove American soccer scouts and officials, however to find these players BEFORE they establish themselves in Mexican soccer and be faced with that choice of representing Mexico or the US.
Our next question comes from an E. Johnson vacationing in Bunnel, FL. He writes, “How many chances am I going to get internationally?”
I don’t know but you might want to step it up in the next month. US fans are so disappointed with your international form that they’re advocating bringing back Brian McBride The clamor for Jozy Altidore is continuing to build. You didn’t exactly set the Premiere League on fire during your appearances for Fulham this year, either.
You need these games against England, Spain and Argentina to find your swagger and confidence that was last seen somewhere in Kansas City. I still believe like Morpheus did Neo but now is the time.
Our last letter comes from an A.I. Kornheiser in a studio in Washington, DC, who demands to know, “Why are you using my shtick for a soccer column??? I HATE SOCCER!!!”
Having lived in DC and remembering your columns during the 1994 World Cup, I don’t know that you really DO hate soccer. But more than that, your columns in the Washington Post are the inspiration for whatever humorous tone I try to include in mine.
Then again, this is the Opinion of One Grown Man who says if you’re out on your bike tonight, wear white.
Andrew Dixon is a soccer writer based in Miami, a weekly columnist for USSoccerPlayers, and host of ‘Back of the Net,’ which you can hear Saturday nights on the Black Athlete Sports Network. Contact him at: email@example.com