It's easy in life to be a cynic. For many it is even easier in sports, this seems to be especially true within the blogosphere, where cynicism and sarcasm are the modus operandi of so many. It's not my thing though, at least not by nature. Sure, I can dabble in cynicism, see this month's double dip critical of Ian Darke and the national TV for First Kick, but it is unnatural.
That kind of sharp bite isn't my thing in sports. Sports are joy-filled displays of art. They are a distraction from unemployment (both national and within my circle of friends), from the two wars where several of my former teammates have spent more of their lives than in America or from a political situation full of deadlock and finger-pointing. My negative emotions tend to drift towards these things.
There is plenty about which I can be cynical in the sport. I could spend time on MLS conspiracy theories, obsessing over Sepp Blatter or the portrayal of soccer within mainstream media.
Or I can recall the artistry of an initial dribble towards a corner that becomes the goal that ices a championship. The focus can be on the stratagem of roster assembly that treats players not just as chess pieces, but as members of a community. I can both regret the losses of humanitarians like James Riley and Taylor Graham and get excited about what that can mean for the team.
While some writers focus on profit-taking by a team, a league or a federation, I'll focus on patterns of movement that determine victory. I'll remember Jeff Parke with the ball at his feet running 60 yards up pitch, passing it off and then rushing forward for a return pass to his feet at the box that never came. I will see hope in a five foot nothing forward fighting off the best centerbacks in MLS. I will relay the conversations of a man who doesn't care who has the ball for it is his job to win it back.
Do I rage at the losses? Of course.
I also anticipate the next victory.
Every single game, in any sport I watch, is an opportunity to seen an amazing moment which may never be repeated. Every sequence is assembled by a community of craftsmen who represent my city. It is sport which gives me a distraction and hope. Those that wear the Rave Green perform magic. They bond us like the audience of the finest storyteller. They aren't just athletes, they are virtuosos.
Could that lend me to a certain naivete? Absolutely.
But I prefer my passion and joy to the soulless cynic.