FC Dallas rolled out the red carpet last Saturday. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy coming to town, this was their big moment to capitalize on the game by making it a spectacle. They busted tail to get the south end seating section completed, allowing them to sell an extra four thousand tickets. Harrison Barnes was brought in to do the scarfing of Lamar Hunt’s statue as well as rolling out new tee-shirts in the pro shops.
I don’t have an issue with any of that so far. It’s taken way too long to get the south end of the stadium completed so any incentive to do so is welcomed. I wish they could bring in big time local celebrities to scarf Uncle Lamar every game and adding the ‘Lone Construction Worker’ shirt is great. The construction worker was an organic moment that was FC Dallas. The fanbase got behind and it ended up taking off. Stuff like that is what makes your local sports teams relatable. It’s knowing that in this corner of the world, where we FC Dallas fans live, we have something that is just for us. FC Dallas was able to see and make it into something more than an online joke. I applaud them for that.
If the weekend ended there, I would be screaming from the mountain tops about how much of a success Saturday afternoon was. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Jumbled in between everything I just mentioned were promos selling Zlatan as opposed to our club, starting as far back as a month ago, emails to ticket holders saying that prices were going to go up to meet the demand of Zlatan coming to town and of course the selling of LA Galaxy jerseys in our pro shops. Add on top of all that, FC Dallas drumline (or whatever they are called) ruining the best organic chant the supporters have going and you could say I was very frustrated.
I’ve given a lot of thought to why I hated everything leading up to the match as well as most of the game day experience (aside from our guys playing their butts off and getting a win). This is the best way I can explain it.
I went to a bible college to get my associates before transferring to Dallas Baptist University (Guns Up!) to finish my education with a real degree. I met some of my closest friends at the school and wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. One of my friends in particular, we will call Jamie, was the nicest guy you would ever meet. Jamie was the type of guy who would help you at the drop of a hat, no questions asked. If you called him at 2 a.m. and needed someone to come pick you because you had ‘car trouble’ he would be there, no questions asked.
Jamie, however, struggled to talk to girls. He was friends with a lot of them, but because he was so nice, but he wasn’t ever able to break through the friend-zone barrier to the next plain. Sadly, he basically just stopped trying, until he met this one girl. Jamie got the nerve to ask her out and she said, “YES!!” We were thrilled for him. As the day grew closer for Jamie to go out on this date, he started to have doubts, “What if she doesn’t like what I’m wearing,” “What if she doesn’t like where I take her?” He got himself all worked up into a tizzy.
As a result of the mental tornado spinning in his head, Jamie decided to go out and buy a new wardrobe, not an outfit, a whole new wardrobe. He spent A LOT of money on it. The clothes he had were fine, but they weren’t the newest trends and thus had to be replaced. Also, instead of taking this sweet gal on a fun date with no pressure on it, he decided on a very very expensive restaurant (again for a first date).
When the date was over, we guys asked Jamie how it went. Of course, he thought it went terrifically. Unfortunately, he got the text a couple of days later saying the inevitable, “Let’s just be friends.” Now, for Jamie, he just thought the reason for being relegated to the friend zone, once again, was because he was this or that. For us, it was very easy to see why it didn’t work out. Jamie was no longer the guy the nice gal agreed to go out on a date with. He changed.
He changed the way he dressed, the way he carried himself, the expectations of the evening, and ultimately changed himself. This girl didn’t want to go out with Jamie because of a new wardrobe or fancy restaurant, she wanted to go out with him because of who he was. The moment he changed from that person was the moment his chance with this girl vanished.
FC Dallas feels exactly the same. We aren’t an EPL team with a 100 years of history and a trophy room overflowing. We aren’t the LA Galaxy with its storied history and multiple titles. We aren’t even Atlanta, LAFC, Portland or Seattle.
What we are is a club that has been around for 20 years, spending a lot of them withering away in the far north part of the metroplex. We haven’t had a ton of success in the past and are usually on the end of few attendance jokes from the rest of the league. It’s okay though. We’ve accepted it. We still drive twenty plus miles to support this club in some of the hottest, wettest and even coldest conditions imaginable.
So when you see LA Galaxy jerseys being sold in the fan shop, or another team’s players being marketed instead of our own, it’s a slap in the face. Not only is it offensive to us as a fanbase, or frustrating because we know we are going to be laughed at by the rest of the league, it's maddening because it’s not the club we love. Instead, it’s some club that is trying to be something that it isn’t.
It’s a club that is trying, extremely hard, for everyone to like them by being everything to everyone. That will never work and it’s certainly blown up in their face, once again. National pundits have called out the selling of LA Galaxy jerseys by calling it “amateur hour.”
Lastly, on a bit of an ironic note, FC Dallas drumline went down to the Beer Garden to help spice up the energy during, “Go Dallas Go.” That cheer is one of a handful of cheers that is uniquely Dallas (I know other teams sing the song, but not like us) and ultimately ended up ruining it. Which is a shame, because it is one of the few times in the match where we as fans can organically and uniquely get that stadium rocking. If there was a moment that could attract people to come back to future games (which seems to be the underlying goal of all of this), it’s moments like “Go Dallas Go.” The Beer Garden has been packed this year and a lot of it has to do with those moments. Unfortunately, that couldn’t even let that be as is.
Luckily, the season rolls on and we have learned how to deal with these type of situations as a fan base. As for me, I will still go to FC Dallas matches and will do everything I can to support this club. Know this though, my friend Jamie is now in his thirties and is still single. I hope FC Dallas can learn from their mistakes so they aren’t stuck in the same spot ten years down the road too.