Monday, August 13, 2007

Assorted Injury Bullshit, parts I & II

Last night the David Beckham Traveling Roadshow came to Foxboro, Massachusetts as the LA Galaxy took on the New England Revolution. I was there as always (I have season tickets) and can report that it was a strange, frustrating experience.

We left home early to get to the game. Normally, anywhere from 8-12,000 people attend regular season Revolution games. This means that I can normally arrive at the stadium ten minutes before kick-off, watch the game, and leave immediately afterwards. For David, however, we left two HOURS before the game, and it took us nearly an hour to get there. We were comfortably in our seats 45 minutes before the game. The Revs reported that 32,000 seats had been sold for the game.

David Beckham did not play. We did not know it in the stands, but he did not even dress for the game. (He was wearing a tracksuit that looked like his uniform.) He did not warm up, and only came out a few moments before kickoff. He signed autographs for children before the game and apparently signed more for a half-hour after the game ended. The crowd had a weird vibe, partially because so many of them seemed unfamiliar with soccer and partially because almost everyone expected Beckham to play at some point. When they showed Becks on the big screen in the 88th minute, he was roundly booed.

The Revs won 1-0 on a nice Taylor Twellman goal, and thus there was a happy ending. But the crowd (and myself) were disappointed that Beckham didn’t play, especially as he played 20+ minutes in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night. I left a little disappointed that I didn’t see the big star and wondering if the Revs would ever get that kind of crowd again.

A few other thoughts from the evening:

  • If there was any one element of the experience that was more frustrating that any other, it was the sanctimonious bullshit being slung by the Revs, the Galaxy, and the MLS. All we have heard from all three organizations since January was about David Beckham. As a Rev’s season ticket holder I can assure you I have received countless emails and ads proclaiming ‘Come see David Beckham!’ But when Beckham got hurt, the mantra changed, and weasels like Alexi Lalas started mouthing the line ‘You buy a ticket to see a team, not one man.’ Fair enough, but that makes the sleazy ad campaign deceiving and a bit frustrating. And extra sleaze props have to go to the New England Revolution, who made fans buy tickets to four games just to get a ticket to the Beckham match. Nice money-making scam, and I am quite sure no refunds will be offered.

  • Some of the fans at the match were ridiculous. The crowd seemed largely split between those who openly wanted to see Beckham and those pretending to be fanatical Revs fans who spent most of the game screaming obscenities at the Englishmen. The problem was that I had never seen many of the “fanatical” Revs fans before, even though I have season tickets. I have a feeling these fanatics won’t be attending any more Revs game sin the future.

  • Lastly, there’s Beckham himself. I like Beckham and am a fan. I also understand that there is nothing you can do about injuries, and that Beckham is not soft; if he isn’t playing, he’s genuinely hurt. He was also a good guy for signing all that stuff for the kids. But he made a rare faux-paux earlier in the week when he claimed he may not play in New England because of the artificial turf; a premonition that sadly came true. Beckham backtracked when he realized his mistake, but the truth is he knew this league had artificial turf when he signed up, and he is going to have to learn to play on it.

In other depressing injury news, Wayne Rooney broke his foot yesterday and is likely out for two months. I’m not a big Rooney fan, but I wanted to see him in that side, especially playing alongside handsome Carlos Tevez. Football is always more fun when the best players are on the field, so this is sad news for fans of the Premiership and Manchester United. Will Rooney turn into one of those players who has enormous promise but never quite fulfills it? He has had THREE broken foot bones in his young career, and could use some unbroken playing time. Come back soon, Roonster! We need some cheering up here at that Fan-atic!

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