17 May 2011

Do You Hear the People Sing?

Listening to: Atmosphere, "Yesterday." I was in a rap mood the other day and this hit home. From Slug and Ant's album, "When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold." Not the most subtle title, I know.

Last week we had the brilliant idea of all picking a sports team to randomly follow and obsess over. With the playoff demise of my Celtics and the NFL in lockout mode, we're staring at a summer with no sports to pay attention to. Plus, if you haven't noticed, liking the same team can be a great way for people to bond. Heck, a few weeks ago I was in LA and randomly seated next to a guy wearing a Red Sox hat who was intently watching the Celtics versus Heat game. We got to chatting and I was so excited just to meet another Boston fan that we talked for an hour. Afterwards we exchanged hearty handshakes and said, "good luck [to our team] man." I'd never felt so close to another human being.

In deciding a team to throw our arbitrary support behind, we first had to pick a sport. Initially we considered maybe hockey or the WNBA, but none of us really want to get into hockey and the WNBA, well, too many NBA loyalties would flood over. My original thought was that we'd find a European soccer team because years ago, Bill Simmons picked a favorite English Premier League team by a process involving careful study and elimination. But cheering for a Euro team would have made watching games tough and the chance of seeing them live would be small. So instead we're going to with a Major League Soccer team.

Instead of studying the rosters or doing a lot of research, we decided to scientifically go with whoever had the most appealing logo (all MLS logos here). While I was initially attracted to the sexy green logo of the Portland Timbers, Jasmine has convinced me that Club Deportivo Chivas USA's logo is mighty fine and classy to boot. The logo also mysteriously features two lions crowded around a giant tree. Clearly this is meant to represent Simba and Nala around the Tree of Life. We like this. Plus, their secondary logo is a fierce goat.

In the recent past, Chivas won their conference with a sterling 15-7-8 record (2007) but sunk to last place in 2010. This year they have a hopeful record of three each of wins, losses and ties. (Whoops, I meant "draws." Ties are called draws in soccer, I guess) They are currently underdogs and fighting for a spot at the top but we like their grit and determination. In fact, Chivas is widely praised for their gentlemanly efforts on the pitch and lose with dignity -- unlike some other LA based teams. I actually have no idea if any of this is true but it sure sounds like something I'd like them to be.

Having thus selected our new team, here are a few reasons you should also support Chivas with us:

  • They are currently sponsored by Corona. I already liked Corona but this is another reason to drink it. Here is a video of their Corona jerseys unveil. Also the club name's similarity to Chivas Regal means we'll have something to drink after big wins. I can't handle whiskey but for my soccer team I'll suck it up.
  • "Deportivo" means "sportsmanlike," and "chivas" means "to whisper, to tell secretly." Or used as a reflexive verb, it could also mean "to upset, to swindle, or to get annoyed." I love all of these options.
  • They are the little brother to parent club Club Deportivo Guadalajara, one of the most successful clubs in Mexico. We will now have a great reason to visit Guadalajara and take in a game.
  • C.D. Guadalajara is the only football club in Mexico to exclusively field players of Mexican heritage.
  • The three colors of the team are red, white, and blue, symbolic of "Fraternity, Union, and Sports".
  • Their support groups are named Legion 1908, the Union Ultras, and the Black Army 1850.
  • Their top scorer is Justin Braun, who was born in 1987 and could be a beefier Justin Bieber if you squint hard enough. He recently scored the first hat trick in team history, and won the Player of the Week for his efforts.
  • In this video from a 2009 game, a player celebrates after a goal by making a hand heart. As far as I'm concerned this is now the official way to celebrate after every Chivas goal.
I hope you're convinced and will soon join the bandwagon. To be honest, the only downer I have so far is that I kind of can't handle the red, white, and blue striped uniforms. They are just a little too patriotic for me and I can't roll with it. That's why we've decided to join the Black 1850s and go goth or something. If you don't know anything about the rules of soccer and feel like lack of knowledge would be a stumbling block to your fandom, don't worry, I don't know nothing about soccer either. This is all about enthusiasm and passion, no previous experience required.

The MLS seasons start in March and end around October, which is perfect for slotting right in-between the NBA and NFL. I'm super excited to learn some team chants and traditions. I'm on the lookout for a great blog or two following Chivas too. Your first chance to see our new team is this Saturday in the Honda Superclasico, when they face off against their hated rivals, the LA Galaxy. Please look over the cdchivasusa.com site, their Wikipedia entry, and the 2010 highlights video so we can cheer together. Any friend of Chivas is a friend of mine!