Don't lose heart.
I know, easier said than done, but seriously, don't.
Look, I know it's easy to, especially when we lose in the final minutes despite Seattle being down to 10 men. And I know it's easy to when nothing seems to change or make a difference. And I know it's easy to when we're ridden with injuries and bad calls. But don't.
I am sitting writing completely heartbroken. I have Backspacer blaring behind me in an attempt to cheer me up and a full bottle of grape Gatorade to try to lift my spirits. Neither is working. True, I was a bit broken hearted going into the game; as you probably all know by now, I have been sick and in and out of hospital for the last two weeks (bad, bad, case of adult tonsillitis). I have been hooked up to IVs, on-and-off medication, and getting severe allergic reactions to everything. And to make matters worse, my mum totally bought me the wrong popsicles. Anyway, so I have been sick as a dog (who is also very sick) for the past two weeks. Over this illness I have missed two good friends' birthdays, my brother's band playing NXNE, and two TFC games. Tonight, I was hoping for a Disney-uplifting-miracle.
It didn't come.
However, despite how heartbroken I am, my love and faith in TFC have not weakened. Let me tell you why.
Tonight my bff came over to babysit me/make sure I didn't die. Now, I have been bffs with him since grade 9 science, and this is the first time I have ever seen him take any interest in sports (let's just say, half way through the game he asked if he could borrow my copy of Moby Dick), so imagine my surprise and joy when he agreed to watch the game.
I spent the whole pre-game explaining to him that there's a difference between club and country.
Despite his un-soccer background, he seemed pretty pumped for it, however I was secretly dreading the game. I mean, it's hard enough for most sports fans to sit through TFC, let alone someone who could only name Manchester United as the ONLY soccer team he knew (bless him). But to my surprise, he didn't hate it. I mean, he didn't like it, but he didn't hate it. In fact, when it was over he asked me to take him to a game.
I was gobsmacked.
Remember, normally I cannot pay friends to go to games with me. Seriously, every person I have ever roped into going to a game has never been back. I have brought siblings, cousins, friends, lovers, other strangers, and not even the pulled pork can bring them back for a second match. So, for a guy who doesn't even like sports to begin with to want to go see a game live after watching this “ludicrous display of a match” on television says something.
For me, it that can only mean one thing (well, two, but I don't think he was sneaking my T3s): there must be something about Toronto. There has to be something about this team that can pull people back. They're not the best, no, I admit. But there's something about them that keeps me supporting them no matter how many times they let me down. And I think that's what he saw, and that's what intrigued him: what is it about this team?
I'll be honest, I now feel like I am letting them down every time I think about giving up on them. I now realize that they need me as much as I need them: I can't lose heart, otherwise TFC might.
Guys, don't you get it? TFC needs us. Is that selfish? Arrogant? Self-centred? Yes. But, like it or not, I think it's the truth. Toronto is mine as much as I am there's and it will never occur to me to think otherwise.
So, if all goes well health-wise (aka if I don't die), next home game I will be there (along with the likable and decent Jerrad Peters, though I wonder if this will curse him into never coming back, we'll see). I will be in shirt, scarf, and (apparently on request) hat, clapping politely (I assume I still won't be able to talk). And you know what, when I look around during the game, I know I'll see the same scene happening all around me: people who get just a heartbroken, upset, downright gutted but will still come out and support the Reds. Because it will never occur to them not to.
Til then, Toronto til I die.
Post script: I was totally going to blog about the Swiss U21 team. But I felt that TFC needed me more.