I spent much of my youth on the American Prairie. Many of those years I worked on farms and around agriculture. The most fertile fields graced the bottom lands where flooding rivers and creeks had deposited years of organic matter creating a dark rich soil we loving called 'Muck'.
Muck was interesting stuff. Its dark color absorbed the heat of the sun, seeping into your joints when you held it in your hand in July. When warm and dry, it smelled of the rich hearth scents of bread. When wet, you'd charitably say that it had the funk of gym socks you found in your locker at the end of a season. Wet Muck clung to everything like a malevolent leech. You could grow almost anything in it. But you had to wait until it dried enough each Spring before you could get at with the farm equipment. It's name had more to do with it's ability to eat tires than the quality of the harvest. Burying a tractor up to the axles in Muck isn't a fun way to spend a day. Particularly not when your father thinks that you're perfectly built to push said tractor out of the mud.
I haven't thought about Muck in decades. But this Spring I've looked at the fledgling Seattle Sounders FC season and the stuff sticks in my craw. The depth of the squad, the years that have gone into assembling the team, the addition of Garth Lagerwey and the time the core has spent together promises that this could be a fertile season. Then the wind shifts and Brad Evans graphically displays that learning curves have a distinct aroma. It shifts again and we see the promise that having The Sheriff next to Chad Marshall might just be the thing that tips the scales down the stretch. The season rocks between the rut of Osvaldo Alonso's injury and peaks of Obafemi Martin's artistry. Two different sets of international call ups and a late resolution to the Collective Bargaining Agreement only augmented the oscillation. Back and forth the season teeters, coating the fans and their hopes in fertile Muck. The coaches and fans pull and push, trying to build some momentum and gain some traction. We need a lever.
Then I looked at the schedule. This Sunday the Sounders play the Portland Timbers. This is a Derby Week; soccer's answer to gaining traction on a fledgling season. Time for the Sounders to shove a couple Timbers under the tires and work out of this rut. The image of Caleb Porter standing beside the fresh new furrow of a Sounder's victory covered in Muck would just be a bonus.