No, seriously. Where are they?
So maybe you’re the only soccer fan in your group. They’re the “football is NFL, not field fairies” types. But they’re down on the Landing on Sundays, grilling and drinking, best friends with guys who are total strangers, before going in and supporting a struggling team. Wow, that sounds familiar. Most NFL fans don’t realize the commonality. I guess because Fox and ESPN hasn’t told them yet.
Or maybe there’s a friend or two who follow the English or German leagues on TV, but aren’t interested in the “inferior” American sides. While their premise is right, they’re forgetting that there’s 4+ divisions to each of those leagues…and some 3rd division teams outdraw the Pittsburgh Pirates. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere. Come see a minor league game, have a good time. Soccer is soccer.
My neighbor, John, is a soccer fan. Played in high school, watched Soccer Made in Germany, watches the leagues on FSC when he can. Had NO clue there was a team here, but we’ll save that for another post. Sees us out in my front yard, getting ready to leave…I never thought to see if he was interested. Invited him to the 2nd game, and he hasn’t missed one yet. Since then, his son Mike has joined us.
There’s plenty of people around; you NEED to bring them out to a game. There’s coupons all over; follow the team on Facebook or Twitter and they post deals all the time. Then buy them a beer. A 16oz beer is $5 at the Soccer Park; a 12 oz draft at the Dome was “lowered” to $5.75 this year. (A coworker told me the 16oz is $8; take that as you will.) Reasonable beer, an improving soccer team, and lots of good people. I’ve been amazed at the good people I’ve met. You’ll meet more of them on this site, as we bring you some insight into the fans in Section 20.
So…what about the people that were at the first few games? WHERE THE F**K ARE YOU?
I went through a lot of pictures when working on this website. It was depressing looking at pictures from the first game or two and then seeing how few people were there on this past Saturday. We’re talking a third or less.
Let’s be honest: St. Louis summers suck ass. Casey noticed I was sweating off the brim of my hat on saturday, it was so hot and humid. Every St. Louligan shirt was black from sweat instead of the dark green. So yeah, not the best place to be, comfort wise. But we’re all willing to sit out in Busch Stadium in the same heat. At least we can stand for long stretches at Soccer Park to reduce the swamp ass that builds up. And there’s rarely a line more than 2 people deep at the concession stands; they really keep people moving. Not as comfortable as your couch on a saturday night, sure. But your couch doesn’t have a section of rowdie fun loving new friends on it. Well, maybe your couch does. Mine doesn’t.
Poor scheduling hasn’t been helpful either. We’ll go a stretch of every weekend for 4 weeks, then none for 8 weeks. We’re in a good home stretch right now in the aforementioned heat. That’s a good selling point though: “Had fun? Let’s do this again next week!” And if you don’t want to go? Don’t. Give your ticket to someone else. Maybe then next week we’ll have 2 people instead of one or none. It’s easy to make the supporters’ groups grow; Chickenhead has done it this way fairly well.
So why do the supporters groups keep dwindling?
I don’t know. And it’s shenanigans. Look, we all have life to deal with. I missed a game because we had an offer to watch our kids. Any parent with two little ones will take a date night. And that’s cool. Maybe you have to work saturdays, like our QuikTrip friends Matt and Monica. Or your schedule isn’t static, like Rocko. Things come up, like weddings or events. Again, no big deal.
But why are the group attendances going down? “Everybody’s got shit going on” isn’t an excuse. (Save the memorial for Tank, RIP) Day Pints had near 20 at one point; now they’re less than 5 it seems. HSC is either 20 or 2. Even the UK, when not leaving in solidarity, are way down, maybe half. I got no idea on Eads, since they don’t wear shirts together. Section 20 used to be Section 20 and 19 and part of 18. Now it’s part of 20. So I ask you, where are your brothers?? Call those punkasses out! First beer’s on you!
Listen, the front office isn’t going to do this. They’ve been handcuffed by budget at worst, and lack of imagination at best. Chickenhead’s designed flyers to post; there’s a Facebook gameday page; we’ve got this website’s forum now. The real grassroots efforts are done by those without titles. (Except for “General” Liz, or “Stats” Lange, or Chickenhead, or “Pervvy” Jeff.) When they Tweet or FB post a ticket deal, repost it. All this stuff takes little to no effort.
This group is infectious. People are gravitating to our section when they’re at games…last game we noticed this group sitting near us…and realized they’ve been coming to games pretty regularly. Talked for a few minutes, they’re quiet, but having fun as the outside part of the group. We all went to the post game at Fenton Bar and Grill…and tore that place up! Strangers asking questions about this group of people having fun…who doesn’t want to be part of that? People dancing Irish jigs, laughing, and having a great time.
So yeah, it’s hot, and sticky, and the team’s getting better but aren’t Real Madrid. Stop your whinin’, grab a beer, and scream your head off and have some fun. Some don’t believe in “you won’t know until you try it”. I do know I won’t enjoy PMITA prison without trying. That’s a little different than sports. Get up off your ass, lighten up, and have a good time. You don’t have to be “AC ’til you die”, just for one night.