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What John Spencer's Statements Taught Me About Myself

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Today John Spencer made provocative statements about Sigi Schmid's "excuses" concerning the 1-1 draw between the two coaches' sides last Saturday night. Those statements rubbed me wrong from the very first read, particularly the following section as reported at

Schmid also made comments about injuries to his players and here's what he said about the weather:

[quote about weather from Schmid]

Spencer said the Timbers are never going to point fingers at injuries, weather or statistics.

"We’ve always said from day 1 that they arrived in Portland, ‘don’t make excuses,'" Spencer said. "’If you’re out there and you’re on the field and wearing a Portland Timbers jersey we expect you to play well and win the game. Different teams maybe have different philosophies, I don’t know."

Many major media praised Spencer for bringing a certain verve and energy to the coaching ranks of MLS, which is generally a fairly bland quote. I took umbrage to what I saw as dismissive of the injury woes of Seattle, and let those writers and commentators know.

It seemed from the author's summation that Coach Spencer could have been diminishing the real and legitimate injuries of which the Sounders have suffered this season. As a fan I rose to defense of our team, our coach, and probably in way that I later recognized as over the top. It is not something that would occur here, or during a news update nor in most print media. It is not something that I would do on "Around the League's podcast" as I even asked not to address the matter there.

But, I did on twitter. And I learned a little bit, not about the medium, but about my ability to straddle the fan/journalist line.

Because I am a fan. It is right there in the site name. It is in my comments signature, kind of.

I am not a fan | I am not a supporter | I am a Sounder

I'm connected to the club in many ways, through this site, through the Alliance Council and through my own passion. A passion for the game and this team that is the only reason I am back involved in sports journalism. For that's my goal here. Not just a "fan blog," but something more.

My love for the Seattle Sounders is why this place exists, but my previous roles working at 950 KJR, and as a teacher's assistant at BCC's Broadcasting program are why I generally approach subject matter as I do. I like facts, cold, hard and dry. I like research. I like to present arguments built on rationality, and yet today still happened.

Because I am still a fan. I perceived a need for defense and tried, but it was unnecessary. The medium shouldn't matter. I got caught up in that Stupid Rage. A rage I demanded that I not have, and didn't on this site, but did on twitter in this site's name. And that's the bugaboo right there.

The model of Sounder at Heart is intelligent sports talk radio, but online in the print format. Somewhere around 50% fan, and 50% journalist. It is a tough balance, one that I clearly struggle holding when discussing the Portland Timbers, but more so when compressed to 140 characters.

It is challenging walking the line normally, and today I crossed clearly with both feet into hyperpartisanship. I went over the top. Some readers may even be proud of what they read. I'm not. That isn't who I am, nor what I want to be. There was bait, and I took it.

There are several writers that I respect that probably respect me less today, and I deserve that. But the fan in me is what it is. So is the journalist, and on sum I hope to be as much of both as this one site can contain.

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