I really enjoyed the Notes From the Stands piece, which let’s be honest in the comments boiled down to "filthy casuals". So here is my take on that as someone who doesn’t make it out to very many games.
Notes From My Couch
The match day for those in attendance is full of wonderful sights, sounds, and everything in between, from the smell of the beautiful green grass to the taste of the overpriced beer. I can say it is an amazing experience having done it a handful of times, but my house has beer too, and a couch, and food, and internet, and heat, and A/C, and a roof. It might not be quite the same experience sitting on my couch as it is sitting in *insert section here* but it’s still a hell of a way to watch soccer.
You tech savvy folks at the stadium may check in once in a while, but if you’re following along with the twitterverse you are doing it wrong and might want to reassess your priorities. With my beverage of choice at my side, and my laptop burning a hole through my jeans I dove right into the jungle of meticulously edited 140 character repartee that is twitter. For obvious reasons a much quieter place on the TFC front than it is during an away game but still with much banter to be had. Not only do you get fun exchanges with other like minded, and un-like minded for that matter, TFC fans but you can engage with the obviously wrong and stupid opposition fans.
Despite this utopian picture I have painted of the TFC twitter experience, I do have a gripe with the TFC twitter account. The teams official account seems to have a crisis of identity, They appear to be unsure if they want to engage with followers and participate in banter, or if they want to be a kind of internet play by play. Neither of which they commit to enough to make it work, with a total of ten time stamped event tweets that is just not enough, some of those included things such as:
45' - Driving run by Michael Bradley, fouled just outside of the box. #TFClive— Toronto FC (@torontofc) July 17, 2014
41' - Sadface, offside. #TFClive— Toronto FC (@torontofc) July 17, 2014
The first of which is great, the second is the embodiment of their problem, trying to be cute when all they need to do is get information across, but that’s not really the problem. The real problem is the infrequency of these tweets, I mean ten events, if there were only ten things that happened all game then why did I not put my head through my coffee table out of sheer boredom? anyway, the rest were retweets and fun stuff like Full House references:
Tonight's Attendance: #FullHouse #TFClive pic.twitter.com/yirzHSy6I3— Toronto FC (@torontofc) July 17, 2014
Which is fine if that is the direction they want to go, but right now whoever is running that account is doing just that, running, but in two different directions. I would love for them to have an account for what I would describe as play by play, to tweet out key events in the match for both home and opposition. In addition to that the current account attempts to stir up the conversation and keep it going at times which is much welcomed, but again they don’t commit to it. I'm not sure what else could be done with the team’s official twitter but I’m sure the possibilities are endless.
I’m sure caps fans will be all over the Jackson penalty, calling it a soft call, and probably go as far as to call it a dive, but you wouldn't expect TFC fans to come out against the penalty, ok maybe not against it but acknowledging the questionable validity of the penalty. However, that is exactly what you got from the fans in the stadium at least. The reaction on twitter was vastly different depending on whether the tweeter was braving the winds of BMO field or leaned back in the cozy confines of their barcalounger. The advantage of replay and the absolute certainty of the announce team, which is a discussion for later..., meant that those at home were much more of the mind that, yes that might have been one of the softer calls but something that is a penalty and something the ref has to call every time.
Here is Duncan and Kristin’s reaction:
Oh my. That's not a penalty.— Duncan Fletcher (@DuncanDFletcher) July 17, 2014
Wow. That's a terrible call.— Kristin Knowles (@kzknowles) July 17, 2014
and now the level headed Devang Desai’s:
That's a pen everyday— Devang Desai (@DesaiDevang) July 17, 2014
Ok that last one was sarcasm but let’s all pretend it makes my point... oddly enough I didn't produce a finely manicured tweet on the matter, but I’m sure it would have involved begrudgingly acknowledging that Jackson is not a total waste of space and that it is also a deserved penalty if only because you can’t put the ref in a position to make a call. On first glance not a penalty, on second viewing a not undeserved penalty, but most of you wouldn't know that, being in attendance and all.
The aforementioned issue that is the commentators, if you want to think for yourself during a TFC broadcast then watch on mute because De Vos in particular will lead you down his path, and that path is sometimes a filth ridden alley through the annals of his past, which would be fine if these trips weren't often backwards and if he left room for a devils advocate, but nay it is his way or the highway. On the extreme it is some sort of tangent about an unspoken code and on the other end it is his certainty in what he is saying in regards to iffy calls. A commentators job is to report the action on the field, not to tell the viewer how to view the action, how to interpret it. This is one reason why those in attendance and those at home seemed to view the penalty in different ways.
I could complain about De Vos and others all day but for the most part they do their job well and temper their homerness enough for it to be bearable, which in the last game was interesting as they were the "home" broadcast for both teams. They walked the line and it was generally a good broadcast. The interviews from Teibert and Henry were good, some softball questions lobbed at them that they answered quite astutely, well done by both the players and the interviewers.
Best of Twitter:
At some point this became a state of the broadcast/twitter address so I’ll bring it back to embracing the TFC couch experience with a best from twitter. I follow a small group of people, most of whom were at the game or don’t give a lick about soccer or TFC so other than the above reference to the near twenty year old sitcom I didn't see too much in the way of stellar tweets, but a stroll through the #TFClive hashtag reveals some "gold".
Some Rob Ford banter of course:
"@torontofc: #TFClive Prediction: What will the final score be tonight? " Rob Ford: 4 foot longs, 12 Coors Light.— All on the Pitch (@AllonthePitch) July 16, 2014
Rob Ford spending the night on his cell phone at the TFC game #TFClive #RobFord #robfordformayor pic.twitter.com/FYjVkWLCqG— Tom Albanese (@meenko_tom) July 17, 2014
Is Rob Ford still there or has he realized its not that type of football and scurried off to a bar/opium den? #TFClive— DrRetro (@drretro) July 17, 2014
More Rob Ford, OK it’s mostly rob ford…
Lots of heckling here @BMOField. I don't think people like this guy. #TFClive #TOpoli pic.twitter.com/6jFIO9HhMj— Ryan Harper (@PrimeSpinister) July 16, 2014
Rachel doing her best impression of a world cup cameraman, and something to do with nestle I guess.
Congrats to these ladies! They just unwrapped summer with Nestle! #TFClive pic.twitter.com/tzYrL4fqwf— Rachel Bonnetta (@rachelbonnetta) July 17, 2014
finally, this which needs an explanation from someone in attendance, something, something, Bargnani
This is the weirdest free handout iv ever got at a football match #tfclive pic.twitter.com/vnR0hDbqJr— David Behan (@DavidBehan1) July 17, 2014
Oh ya, and this guy who looks nothing like bradley but happens to be bald
He shaved his head so he could look exactly like Michael Bradley @rachelbonnetta #tfclive pic.twitter.com/KGP5a7gXCn— Eric Balnar (@EricBalnar) July 16, 2014
As much as they have tried, people just don’t use the hashtag #TFClive so if you have some better stuff from twitter please share.
Before I wrap up what is sure to be a schadenfreude of a reading expedition, I’ll just throw out some of my personal favourite things about watching from home. The first being my couch, because that bitch is comfy as fuck. Secondly, I didn’t have to deal with what Waking the Red’s own Kristin Knowles described as a "horde of douchebags".
We have suddenly been invaded by a horde of douchebags. I am going to cut someone. #TFC— Kristin Knowles (@kzknowles) July 17, 2014
Although I was interrupted by my cat who is shifty as fuck… actually I don’t have a cat... last of all was my freezer full of ice cream sandwiches. Now the rule of three says I should stop there but the pre-show was quite good so I’ll throw a nod to it even though I failed to mention it above, mostly because I can’t recall them ever doing one before. Nothing noteworthy came out of it and I can’t see them doing it every week so this is all the mention it gets. Anywho, what is your favourite part of watching from home, since you’ll all have to do it come this Saturday and well half the games? Is it your fridge full of reasonably priced beer or only being interrupted by a clearly up to something cat?
If you found this remotely interesting, even if only for the attempts at comedy strewn throughout the piece, then you can follow me @KicksFromAfar on twitter, and if you want to read not only my live tweets from this last game but also of the hit HGTV show Decked Out, I was using the #NFMC (notes from my couch) hashtag. why Decked out you ask? because while everyone was making their trek through the ridiculous transit and road closures of Toronto I had to kill an hour and a half on my couch, and you know power tools, outdoors, wood, ARR, ARR, ARRRRR.