Thursday, October 21, 2010

TFC Town Hall report - trying to find the words to reflect how big our dreams are for this club.

It was tough to find the right question to ask tonight at the first (and next to last) TFC Townhall meeting at BMO Field. I have been following the reports from the Red Patch Boys and the U-Sector so I knew the questions that had been asked and could probably recite from memory some of the answers. In case you have not been following the process, TFC has been represented by Paul Beirne, Tom Anselmi, Earl Cochrane and Jim Brennan.
I was a little surprised at the general praise and friendliness that seemed to be in the room and when it was wrapped around the first question, I had to burst forth with the second question. Later, after a few more happy, happy queries, I did call out "Next year, I want to be invited to the "piss and vinegar" town hall meeting".

Let me try to capture my little speech and question.
My name is Mark Kennedy, I have had seats in section 220 since day one. I also write a blog about being a fan of this team called "Mistake by the Lake". So I have been loving this team and blogging about it for four years now.
I do want to complain first off that by having Jim Brennan up there I can't blast away at how you are all suits who don't care, because from Section 220 we know Jim cared from day one, that for him it was a dream come true and for us up in Section 220, the fact that there was a stadium and a team in this city, was a dream come true. So, my question is, when you named this you called it a football club. What makes this a club? Because from up in Section 220, and I have written this in my blog (oh and by the way, I thought the apology letter sucked. You're going to praise me for being a great fan? My dad taught me how to be a great fan. You have profited from me being a great fan, but don't praise me, it does nothing for the situation) so, what makes this a club? From our point of view you look upon it as a product with a price point, we look upon it as our pride, our dream come true, our passion. We have big dreams for this CLUB. It's not a product, it's not part of the "MLSE stable". The suspicion is that if the phone call came some of you would say "Oh sure I'll take the corporate shift and I'll go and run the Marlies now".  Jim excepted.
What makes this a club?

Now my buddy's camera did an awful job of recording Tom Anselmi's answer. If somebody there has a better memory of his reply I will be glad to add it. I think that the emotional tone of my question struck a chord with Tom Anselmi, he responded with passion and fire. He spoke of being a Toronto guy too. He spoke of caring deeply for the team, that there were results this year that he was digusted with. He spoke of a common bond between fans and leadership, a common goal of success. He said that praise toward fans was sincere, that it was the fans that made this club. He made a good solid dig at me and my willingness to fire all the suits - when I replied that I had not gone that far, he reminded me that he has read the blog. (Yikes!! My section 220 Row 6 could be row 166 when I make my renewal call tomorrow).
Yes, I shook his hand afterwards and we talked briefly about the blog. I also reminded him that should things continue to be negative in 2011, I'll hold up my hand high in Section 220 and say "this is the hand that shook Tom Anselmi's hand" and then smack it with the other hand! I am a TFC fan, but bloggers need to stay out of "fanboy' territory.

Glory was the word I forgot to use when  trying to describe what TFC fanatics seek.  We are on a mission, not just in search of victories and championships, but in revealing to ourselves and the world that soccer is a Canadian game. It is not an afterthought or an import. It is a part of us. When Paul Beirne talked about the growing number of Canadian teams meaning greater talent being developed and a Canadian team returning to the World Cup, I felt that he did more to restore my faith than the apology letter did.
So much to blog about and it is getting late. Tomorrow I will try to add another post to give Jim Brennan's answer to my question about improving scouting and Mo's old habit of sticking to one talent agency. I was struck with how much passion and attention the four TFC leaders paid to all fans, especially when you remembered that these were sessions 6 and 7
 I tried to explain later at home the spirit behind my speech and question. If TFC leadership thinks that the unhappy fanbase is some combination of John McCain and Rob Ford, ticked at every penny that is not in their pocket, they may have the pulse of some, but not all. I am proud to be in a different camp, a President Obama if you will. When I express unhappiness it is because I feel that someone stepped on my dream this year. Soccer is not the topic of discussion amongst Torontonians these days and a glorious schedule of upcoming playoff games is not etched into my mind.You want to know why I dread going to the MLS Cup? It will remind me in November of how far short my beloved TFC fell in 2010.


Jeff said...

Mark, do you ever go to Men's Nats games? Forgive me if you do and we've actually already met, but you mention a bit about how soccer is a Canadian game, I'm just wondering how much weight is behind that comment.


Jeff (Tuscan on the Vs forum)

Trout said...

You'd have to admit, I might not have captured Anselmi's response, but I got a nice shot of your leg while I was doing it! Next time I'll run up to the front row.

stillkicking said...

I would argue with your narrow definition, one could be madly in love with a local team, never see the Men's Nat team and still be proof of soccer as a Canadian game. I would also argue that the 1000s of hours I have put into coaching in my community and reffing in my community would also do as much to making Canada a soccer nation as my buying tickets.
I attended many Blizzard games, was at their last NASL game when they lost the final to Chicago. I have attended Lynx games, both downtown at Varsity and out in Etobicoke.
I have seen the Women's Nat team in recent years- vs USA and vs Brazil.
I took my family to see Canada Men's team host the Iranian team at Varsity in the 90's. We were amongst the very few non-Iranian Canadians that day. I remember that the crowd got on Jason DeVos for a few hard tackles.
I have attended many games at the old Varsity stadium. I have yet to see Canada play at BMO. Does standing outside the stadium for hours trying to buy a ticket for the Can vs Jamaica game count?

stillkicking said...

Good Mr. Trout, you were fantastic. Glad to have you on the mission. I called my rep this am, I renewed both sets of tickets. Really hoping to relocate the 222s to 220. When the day comes and TFC wins the Cup, I am thinking that the blog should go from "Mistake by the Lake" to "Section 220, far from home, closer to heaven".

Anonymous said...

Nice post.

Anonymous said...

First off great job Mark and thanks from the guys that sit behind you in row seven.


Lake Vostok said...

great post man