Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Darkest Days behind us now.... Yule 2014

North Pole FC - Shirt sponsored by Mrs. Claus

I am convinced (on very little evidence) that I had druids aplenty in my murky family tree. Few things flatten me as much as the full darkness of evening at 5pm. So I quietly salute the solstice and look upon the festive season as the time-tested way to stir one's spirits for the dark, cold stagger to spring. The months ahead will not be without thoughts of TFC. So stay tuned for a flurry of blog posts...

January will bring TFC fans the Euro transfer window
It will be the time to know
who will come and who will go
The college draft , Jermain Defoe

February will be camp and pre-season games in Florida (and speculation because TFC never seems to have a set squad until Canada Day).

March and April will be the time of an actual team playing actual games - all on the road due to stadium construction.

May will bring actual home games at the swanky BMO Field /National Soccer Stadium (home of your Argos). To lend my energy to the vibe MLSE is going for, I hereby promise to smuggle in a prawn sandwich.

So let me take a moment to wish everyone who reads my blog a happy holiday and a merry festive season. Take a moment to appreciate those close to you. If you are anything like me, you probably spend hours dumbstruck that such wonderful people call you things like husband, dad, uncle, brother or friend. Yule 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Alone again, naturally. Or world’s worst salute to The Yorkies.

The offseason TFC news had been streaming along and I had written a few Mistake by the Lake words as rough drafts. I thought that I would wait until critical mass hit and then I would launch into a blog post. Critical mass around here equals a trade, an expansion draft, the waiver process or the college draft in January or all of these combined. Stay tuned for that post, but don’t hold your breath.

Then The Yorkies pulled the plug on their blog.  I find this incredibly sad. It seems that I have lost some friends I have never met AND lost a community, one of the things that made blogging fun (and healthy).

It maybe no surprise to those who know me that I never met any of the folks connected to The Yorkies. I do tend to be an anti-social semi-loner. I had once hoped to meet one of them, we exchanged emails about meeting because they had created some playing cards of TFC players, but I did not follow through….

Now what do I do? Say goodbye to people I don’t know? Rail against their choice to use a podcast and their Twitter feed to continue expressing themselves regarding our team?
Nobody blogs anymore Granddad. All those words, all that whining. TFC fans drown their sorrows after the game and you, still kicking and not understanding, instead describe your sorrows. Excuse us for not awarding you the Pulitzer Prize for deserved obscurity…

All in all, it is a tough moment for my head and the place within it that drives my blog onward. I don’t think I am much of a writer. I lack the wit, humour and creativity of The Yorkies. I think of my blog as proof that I can stick with something connected to writing, but I have a hard time seeing any progress in terms of style or voice, or tactical insight for that matter.  You may point out that few of our managers have shown much development of tactical insight, but this is a case where misery does not want that sort of company.

I still have strong opinions aplenty. I still think about TFC and developments surrounding the team and the stadium and the appalling approach of MLSE far more than I should. Perhaps those strong opinions get in the way of a coherent blog. A tweet here and a Red Patch Boys forum entry there should do the trick.

I started a blog on Toronto FC in 2007 for a handful of reasons. I was thrilled that Toronto had landed a legit* team and that the stadium had been built where Exhibition Stadium, the original mistake by the lake had stood. My first memories of attending any game that required a ticket was walking with my dad (we lived in Parkdale at the time) in the early sixties to the Old Exhibition Stadium to watch the Argos play the Calgary Stampeders.  Calgary beat the Argos 55-0 and my life of loving a team with problems began then.

Another factor in my decision to blog about TFC was that I had been following a fairly obscure English team (Charlton Athletic) and a blogger had created a Charlton blog called “All Quiet in the East Stand”. I had loved reading it for a few years, the insight, the detail, the joys and frustrations. I think he abandoned the blog in 2010. Charlton Athletic has had some rough years since I saw a match at The Valley in 2003 (vs Man City). However reading that blog for few years was good for my soul, good for seeing what the thoughtful fan can see from the stands and communicate to a blog audience. It was also very good for my understanding of what social media could bring to the world. You were not prisoner to the sports editor of Toronto papers or Canadian sports tv channels. A fan could follow a team.

However no matter how much I draw on my original inspirations, the fact that The Yorkies have bitten the dust still has me wavering.
This is not the first time this year that I have encountered a crisis of faith with Mistake by the Lake. Last winter I took a writing course at my local university, thinking that it would boost my creativity and spark life into my blog. It turned out to be something that did the opposite. I almost gave up the Mistake by the Lake blog then. 

So, I feel that I have reached that critical juncture. Joe Strummer would have called it the "should I stay or should I go" moment. Is it pull up my socks time? Or do I come to terms that this blog, like a pair of socks one has been wearing for 8 years, have worn through so much and have developed so many holes that not much sock remains to get a grip upon? Stay tuned...