I feel relatively safe in guessing that, if you're a regular reader of this blog, you have some degree of affinity for supporters' culture. You may even be one of the bouncing, singing, dancing, flag-waving, megaphone-using members of the Southsiders, the Curva Collective, the Rain City Brigade or any of the other smaller groups that make the supporters' end of the stadium the best end (in my humble view). Making a small logical step forward from that, as a supporter, you may have an opinion on certain aspects of the match day experience.
Aspects like, say, for example, canned music.
If you've ever been in a basketball arena, baseball stadium or any similar North American sports venue, 10-30 second clips of popular songs blaring out at you in between breaks is a normal state of affairs. An entire catalogue of Top 100 is available for a DJ's choice during pre-game, during intermissions and at post-game. It's something you don't even think about if you're settling in to see the Canucks, the Giants or the Lions do their thing in Vancouver.
Unless you're a soccer fan. Who needs the atmosphere piped in when we can do it ourselves?
In that vein, a number of very intriguing tweets hit the internet yesterday courtesy of the Vancouver Whitecaps' goalkeeping coach, Marius Rovde:
Well then. In the words of the Ask A Ninja, "gauntlet thrown down, gauntlet picked up, prepare to be bludgeoned to death with a gauntlet."
I should point out that typically, I would be exceptionally nervy about a team's front office attempting to co-opt supporter culture. It's not their place to tell us how to support, when to sing, what to chant and so forth. Nor should a supporters' group shy away from holding management's feet to the fire when they feel their rights are being threatened or outright disrespected. In the linked case, an amicable compromise was reached and all parties went away happy. That's good! That's how it should be, and it brings us to Marius' request to counter the Timbers Army with a full-on preemptive supporter strike.
If we go under the assumption that Marius is conveying the sentiments of the front office staff ("You guys was on the agenda"), it would appear the 'Caps brass genuinely want to do everything and anything to give the team an advantage in their first ever home playoff game. They've expanded the capacity of the lower bowl, which is about as close to wish fulfillment as the tarp-abhorrent out there are going to get. One assumes this is being done to ensure that, even if the Timbers Army comes up the I-5 in force ("Timbers A is coming early"), the additional seats in theory should cancel out their ceaseless prattle. That Marius would publicly state this is being done as staff-sanctioned gamesmanship ("blow their mind when they arrive" / "Can we put them under pressure") and then sweeten the pot ("I make sure it's no bloody music") further reinforces how motivated and driven the entire organization is to getting a result - as if questioning the motivation of a professional sports team during playoffs was necessary.
Personally, I don't see this as a step over the supporter/front office line. In my few interactions with him, Marius has been a straight shooter, often times edging into unfiltered territory, who clearly loves the team and will do anything within his power to help secure three points on any given day. He's not ordering the supporters to replace the PA, nor is he implying a negative consequence should the team's request be turned down.
The gauntlet has been thrown down, Vancouver Whitecaps supporters; would you be wiling to go above and beyond the usual 90 minutes for your club, especially if it meant an all-supporter atmosphere in a playoff game?