By Michael Decker
I have always believed that when an opportunity knocks on your door, you can do one of two things: either open the door or wait until you are ready to do so, then quietly open it slightly and see what is on the other side. I did the latter about 8 years ago when I was first starting to take an interest in soccer. It took me a little time to understand the game. I had never played the game before and the only things I knew about the game were kick a ball into the goal and, no matter what, do not touch the ball with your hands. So, I knew as much about the game as Frank Cusumano knows about how real or not real his toupees are, which, I think the jury’s still out on that. Anyway, when St. Louis FC was formed I had heard about the St. Louligans from a piece that was on St. Louis FC’s website. I was intrigued but I was nervous at the same time largely because my knowledge of USLPRO at the time was minimal. So, I watched from a distance in year one of the club’s existence.
My first game was against Tulsa and I remember the score like it was yesterday: 7 – 2. However, the score aside, I was more interested in what was going on in section 8 and 9 with all of the smoke, chanting and clapping. It was something that I had never seen before. It looked like a 90 plus minute adrenaline rush and it felt real, unlike going to a baseball or hockey game when they have to tell you to stand-up, cheer and get excited. This felt real and organic. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Cardinals and Blues, but this was authentic and I felt like this could become something that I could really enjoy. As the season progressed I started to listening to the This Is SiLLy! podcast (a Louligan podcast devoted to local soccer) and becoming more interested in the sport than ever before. Gamedays become almost like an escape and they made me feel like a kid on Christmas morning. When St. Louis CITY SC begins, I will feel that way and then some.
As time has gone on I just couldn’t wait for the next game or season. It has become something that is now a part of my life. I have a favorite Premier League team that I follow religiously- Chelsea FC [editor note- please don’t hold that against him] and I’m trying to learn all of the ins and outs of MLS and why they like fancy words like TAM, GAM and any other word that has to do with allocated money- which is a mystery of the world that will never be solved. However, soccer has now become a love and passion of mine. Getting to meet other Louligans has been a tremendous experience and I hope to meet more in the future. However, there is one question that I have not answered and it is one that I have heard during the years that I have listened to the podcast. It’s easy, but can be a little tricky as well.
How do we get more members and what do we need to do to? I can answer that in 3 short words “Trust the Process”. This group is the most dedicated, loyal and wildest group I have been a part of since my time in the United States Marine Corps. What this group has done to give back to the community and to charities is something that does not get the respect and recognition it truly deserves. The members of this group are a combination of rockstars and average people who just want to have fun, make noise and drink a lot of cold frosty beverages while we cheer our clubs on to victory. Also, members of the group speak their mind and when you meet them in person are wonderful human beings.
One other thing, I must warn you once you join the group you may start using key phrases, jingles, or looks of death in your daily lives. Let me use a couple of key examples. When I have met a couple of new friends I have mistakenly said “Who the hell are you?”. I have also during my day hummed Mark Gardner’s number while working during the day and I always recommend it to anyone for commercial, or residential elecrical needs. [Shameless Plug for Your Electric] I have also used the saying “A rising tide lifts all boats” during a graduate class and when I explained it to my professor she said “you must be a huge fan of that podcast”. Last but certainly not least, when I’m frustrated with the students I work with I use Sarah’s look of death and they know that I mean business. So once you join our group you start you take certain things from the group and you just have to know when and where to say certain things without getting into too much trouble.
Being a silent Louligan has been fun and I’m very proud to say I’m a member of this group. The only regret I have is that I should have been a more vocal member much sooner. I’m fortunate to be apart of this amazing group. I would encourage anyone to become a member of this unique family and trust me you will never forget it. And you will meet some amazing people in the process. While we all wait for the debut of St. Louis CITY SC, please join our group and get ready for the time of your life.
Editorial note. Michael has been lurking for a while on the periphery. We noticed and are very happy he’s decided to step up and get more involved. But everyone has their own path. We encourage anybody to dip their toe in slowly or jump in with both feet. There is no right way to become a Louligan. You’re free to participate as much as you want. We invite you all to come check it out to see if it’s for you. Follow us on social media to see what we’re up to and when & where you can join us. #OneOfUs