Commentary: Thin Line between love and hate at Chivas USA
By John Santos
In my travels as a supporter, my often negative tone when writing or talking about the Goats has always been evident. This examiner doesn’t hide them. I say it as it is. I don’t like something, you’ll know about it. So I get called annoying. So others tell me to be quiet. Others proclaim their pity for me and even dare me to jump to their side of the hall.
I made a commitment long ago to this team. Even when I had every right to make the jump across the hall, I didn’t. Like the truest sports supporter, you make your bed, and lie in it for the rest of your life (unless the team is contracted or relocated and what not but that’s a topic for another day).
This team sucks!
Kick the ball, stupid!!
Do your job!!!
What was that??!!
Who the hell do you think you are??!!!
...All things I’ve said, and am entitled to say, while watching and supporting the team be it in person or on the other side of the screen. I’ve paid for my tickets (well, some of them). Any person holding that piece of paper can form whatever opinion that they want to form. No one has to agree. It’s your right to say it whatever it may be. Blind support does not equal support. So when the team trades away a player for money, or releases him for no reason, I stop for a second to scratch my head. Do I get upset? Yes. Can I do anything about it once it’s done? No. Can I complain about it? Darn straight.
The Goats make it hard for me to care about them. Does it mean I support the team any less? Of course not. Like a glutton for punishment, I come back for more. Still though, pointing out their shortcomings and ineptitude should be seen as a sign that I care and not that of a "hater".
Speaking of shortcomings and ineptitude, they don’t explain themselves when it comes to player movements. They don’t service the fans (what little of us remain). We can’t see them on TV unless they are on Unimas. I also have to look at the screaming mug of a neighbor’s player high in the sky everyday driving home from work. Where is the similar promotion for the Goats (it was being done a couple of years ago)? Can’t grow the fanbase (or stop it from shrinking) if you don’t tell people that you are playing, or that you exist. The Goats appear to be as irrelevant as can be.
The neighbors, the Los Angeles Galaxy are far from perfect (15 seconds of TV news time, small blurbs in the newspaper, no championship parades, etc… all in a city of 4 million) but people know they exist. Even if only in brief passing. They might even be able to name a player or two. Their average attendance in the 20,000 range is respectable (though for a back to back champion it should be better). Despite opposition from The Clippers, Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, Ducks, Angles, USC and UCLA, they’ve managed to shuffle their way into the crowded sports market that is Los Angeles. When people are asked about Chivas, they think about Guadalajara. Cry all you want about building an identity and what have you, but it’s the truth. You know that truth, the one deep down in places you don't talk about at parties.
Those who have supported this team have endured a lot in the last few years. Pressure from friends, other fans, and even family to just give up and move on. Yet rather than moving on, we continue on, even if the inevitable end is near (which I believe to be the case). We remain, lighting the lone candle and beating the drum relentlessly through the night as we slowly go down with the ship together.