Well, this has been a more difficult year. Injuries, less inspired, creative, cohesive, or even energetic play, has made the soccer harder to watch. The heat, the less exciting product on the pitch, the electricity shortage in the crowd (let's face it, fans, we're not exactly bringing it either)...it has just been a tougher year.
Okay. Learn. Grow. Adjust. Re-energize. And start right now.
There is a spectacular potential on the near horizon in the form of MLS expansion that should find Sacramento named first. But we should not imagine that to be a foregone conclusion (unless, of course, someone knows that it IS a foregone conclusion). We would do well to conjure One More Big Splash. One that will get national attention refocused on Sacramento. Is that necessary? Yes.
What was once possibly seen as a Sacramento phenomenon with large crowds and support groups (read: "group", singular) and team apparel seen throughout the city, has revealed itself to be a national phenomenon. Atlanta on a larger than life, and MLS, scale, and Cincinatti on a larger than us, and USL, scale, have demonstrated that passion on that level is not unique to this community.
The fact that the Quails, our Republic, do not seemingly have sufficient time to back themselves all the way out of the playoffs has given us an opportunity to make a statement. The statement has to be fully exercised on the part of the football club and its fans.
What if we had an 11,000+ loud and proud and colors wearing crowd show up for a game...that was played somewhere else?! It would be a fantasy to picture a march down K Street to Golden 1 Center, filling that arena with a crowd that could fill a new soccer-specific park in the railyards, just to watch some other team's not so special broadcast (our broadcast team is good) streaming on the giant screen for what seems likely to be our one playoff game. The basketball schedule does have the open dates. But would it be realistic to have a soccer festival and playoff broadcast fully supported by Sacramento Republic faithful at Papa's, or some other suitable venue, fully decked out with brews and food and the team store? Who wouldn't take notice, including The MLS office and every soccer reporting outlet there is?
I propose this One More Big Splash.