(I'm sure we've all seen this one before...so inspired by Elliotte Friedman and his piece on Jarome Iginla, and since poetry was so last week, I present to you.)
THE GLORY DAYS
- Troy, a Toronto FC supporter since day one. Has even the pom-pom hat from the first game, and majorly disgruntled.
- Sheehan, childhood friend of Troy and a Maple Leafs fan since birth. Also majorly disgruntled.
- Claudette, a Montreal Impact supporter.
- Lounge Attendant and Albertan Man, two bystanders.
- Rick, Troy's brother and an Argos fan. Doesn't understand soccer and doesn't really want to. Mocks Troy incessantly about the potential of the Argos moving to BMO.
- Cal, a friend from out of town. Doesn't really understand MLS, but at least is trying...for Troy's sake.
Anita, the local barkeep. Fast with the taps and the one liners, but knows her sports and the disappointments they bring.
Saturday, April 7th. TFC are in Montreal to play the Impact at the Olympic Stadium. Dozens of fans have made the journey to Montreal to watch the inaugural MLS match between these two teams. Troy and Sheehan have made the trip, and are amongst the ultras.
[SCENE: Olympic Stadium, Montreal]
Troy drops his beer, throws down his scarf, and walks up the stairs.
SHEEHAN: Troy, what the hell man?
Sheehan picks up the scarf, and chases after his friend.
SHEEHAN: Dude, wait up.
TROY: I'm sick of this. I'm just fucking sick of it.
SHEEHAN: I thought you'd be used to this by now.
Troy shoots Sheehan a dirty glance.
TROY: Let's get the hell out of here. I just want to head back to Toronto.
Troy heads to the exit.
SHEEHAN: Dude! What am I going to do with these Leafs tickets for tonight!?
ACT I, SCENE I
Troy is on the metro, being heckled by the locals. He finally arrives at his destination, fuming and humiliated.
[SCENE: Central Station, Montreal]
TROY: ...and Tic Tac Tabernac to you too, buddy!
He heads to the ticket office, and gets his ticket changed to the next train leaving for Toronto.
TROY: I've been to a lot of matches, seen a hell of a lot of shit...this has to be the worst. Edmonton, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Houston...but what do I get?
A few drinks in the departure lounge later, and Troy is feeling a bit better, until Claudette enters. She looks at his dismissively and "accidentally" spills a drink on him.
CLAUDETTE: Oh, sorry about that.
TROY: What the hell was that!?
CLAUDETTE: Pardonez-moi, monsieur, just because your team is shit does not mean you can be rude to me.
TROY: I hate to say it, lady, but you were clearly trying to start something.
CLAUDETTE: I am sorry, but those are tough words coming from someone whose team has never made the MLS playoffs. That and a hockey team that can't make the playoffs.
TROY: And you think losing 6-1 is any better?
CLAUDETTE: Please! We were being charitable avec vous. When was the last time Toronto won a Coupe Stanley? Oh...1967?
Troy is fuming now, but it seems the cavalry has arrived.
LOUNGE ATTENDANT: Ma'am, that was not called for. I suggest you leave.
CLAUDETTE: Sacre bleu! I was not being mean at all!
ALBERTAN MAN: Yeah, and I'm the freakin' premier of Alberta...go and smoke some more weed, ya Commie Separatist!
Claudette exits in a huff, but Troy is clearly embarrassed. The lounge is buzzing.
TROY: ...Thanks guys.
ALBERTAN MAN: Trust me, I have a friend who is a TFC supporter in my town. I know your pain...
Troy thanks the man for his sympathy, but just wants to slink back into the recliner until the train departs.
ACT I, SCENE II
Troy is now back in Toronto, after a restless train ride. Business class brought him no solace, as happy Impact fans continue to mock him as they detrained all across southwestern Quebec.
He arrives at home, hoping for some solace. But that isn't so easy when you share a home with your Canadian football loving brother.
[SCENE: Troy's home, suburban Toronto]
Troy unlocks the front door. His friends are watching reruns of the Ultimate Fighter.
RICK: How's the girlyball, bro?
Troy shoots Rick a death glare.
RICK: It's too bad, bro...you just don't know how to pick a winning team, do you?
TROY: At least I have a team that has actual supporters, unlike fans like yours.
RICK: Well, once we take over that girlyball stadium of yours, maybe you can use Skydome for your little tea parties!
Rick and his friends laugh their heads off, as Troy slams the door. He turns on the TV, just as the Sportscentre highlights are on...and it's of the match. Troy angrily shuts off the TV, and flops into bed.
TROY: I fucking hate my life.
It's been three days since the Montreal match. It's after work, and both Troy and Sheehan are at their favourite pub on Queen West. Their friend Cal is with them, as well as Anita behind the bar.
CAL: Cheer up, dude...at least you're not facing a complete rebuild like the Flames are right now.
SHEEHAN: Pffht, like the Flames matter. You think being a Leafs fan is any better?
Troy is silent, looking at his beer pensively.
CAL: Look, fact of the matter is, you've still got the CONCACAF Champions L...
Sheehan gives Cal a look.
SHEEHAN: Ix-nay on the ONCACAF-cay Hampions-cay Eague-Lay....
CAL (confused): What?!
SHEEHAN: They just got knocked out by Santos Laguna last week.
CAL: Well, fact of the matter is, there's teams that's been around for a lot longer than TFC that hasn't seen much glory until recently. I mean, I have a friend who lives in Sydney...
Anita walks by, checking on the trio's drinks when she overhears Cal's words.
ANITA: Boy, you don't be meaning about the Sydney Swans, do you?
CAL: Wait...how did you...?
ANITA: I've been to Australia a few times there, and wrestled in some of them Aussie rules footy rucks before.
CAL: Anyway, fact of the matter is...the Sydney Swans had to wait 72 years to win a title.
Troy still does not look up.
SHEEHAN: Or hell, think about the New Orleans Saints. People there used to wear bags over their heads to hide their shame...and don't get me started on the Detroit Lions.
ANITA: Or even the Windies cricket team...oh my, when I was a child I watched the likes of Sobers bat teams into the ground. Now? I still await a team that won't embarrass themselves.
CAL: Things don't happen over night. It's easy to think it does...but shit happens. That's what being a supporter's all about.
SHEEHAN: Come on man...hey, we got one hell of an Academy. I mean, it's created the likes of Ashtone Morgan. I mean I don't know soccer all that well, but isn't he not bad?
Troy glances at Cal, then back at his drink.
ANITA: Troy dear, you know someday, you'll be laughing at this pain...now stop looking at your drink, and finish it!
Troy looks up at Anita, and finishes it. He still says nothing, as Anita pours him another. The door opens, and Rick walks in fresh from a workout.
RICK: Oh hey look, isn't this a pathetic crew of losers!
ANITA: Well if it isn't little wee-man, running his mouth to compensate for somethin'. Shut up, sit down and order your drink.
Didn't I say Anita was good? Rick shuts up immediately, and orders his usual drink and says nothing else.
It's now seven years later, Troy and Sheehan are at BMO Field on a cold December evening. Two teams are about to walk out onto the pitch, flanked by a certain silver trophy awaiting the winner. It's 1-all after the 81st minute.
[SCENE: South Stands, BMO Field, Toronto]
TROY: Come on...come on...
A red-clad striker hits a perfect cross from the wing, past a sprawling goalkeeper. The packed house goes absolutely bananas. Fifteen minutes later, Troy and Sheehan are on hand to witness the Reds' captain takes the trophy.
Troy is speechless, but his friend is not.
SHEEHAN: These are the glory days, eh?