Hey People! Lions Don’t Get Swine Flu!By: David | May 4th, 2009
OK, I’ve been gone for a while. Sort of. While I haven’t exactly been here, I have been actively reporting on the FC Gold Pride (or make that @fcGoldPride, in Twitter-speak). But someone recently observed that I’ve been a bit absent here. **
But I am back, and I’m here to rail on the fans. Not the super-committed ones who follow me on Twitter and offer awesome gameday insight into the team’s performance. No, I’m angry at all the fans who didn’t show up yesterday at Buck Shaw Stadium. **
The team reported attendance of 2533 at yesterday’s game was a season low (declining from an inaugural crowd of 6500). Other teams have seen attendance declines from their first games, but not anything quite this large. For comparison, the Washington Freedom welcomed 5149 yesterday.
So where were all of the people?
Lame Excuse #1: Sky Blue Who? Sunday’s match was 1-0 victory over the visiting Sky Blue FC, who are possibly from New Jersey. Or maybe even New York. Who knows? Which was certainly partly to blame for the empty seats. The two other FCGP games featured better-known players, like Abby Wambach. And Brazilian soccer savior Marta was one of the more than 8000 in attendance in Boston this past Friday.
But the lack of a marquee match-up shouldn’t be an excuse. The two previous home games have featured lots of offensively-minded soccer, with 10 goals scored in two matches. Yesterday’s game — although low-scoring — featured a missed penalty kick, five balls knocked off the woodwork, and All-World goaltending from Nicole Barnhart.
Lame Excuse #2: My Daughter is Going to Melt. Inherent in the family-friendly approach the team takes with local soccer community is a certain less-than committed fan base. It was unseasonably cold and wet in the Bay Area this week, almost certainly scaring off families who didn’t want to get wet. Never mind that it never rained during the match, and there is plenty of room in Buck Shaw Stadium to spread out your umbrella and poncho without ruining anyones site-line anyway. It was definitely raining on Saturday, but the SJ Earthquakes still drew more than 10,000 for their losing effort against Chivas USA.
Lame Excuse #3: Sunday was Tres De Mayo, the nearest weekend observation of Tuesday’s Mexican Cinco de Mayor celebration. This probably had a small impact, since neither team has a player with significant ties to the local Hispanic community, and the holiday is a big deal in the South Bay. Even the free tickets the team gives to local charities couldn’t bring in the young girls, as the Bay Area Womens Sports Initiative admitted it couldn’t muster enough girls from the local (and largely Latina) schools it serves.
And even the annual parade in downtown San Jose was less-attended than usual. The local SJ Mercury News covered both the soccer game and the parade, only speculating on why the parade route wasn’t as crowded as years past. … which leads us to …
Lame Excuse #4: Swine Flu Will Kill You. No, that now seems to be unlikely. But with Santa Clara County government officials closing schools willy-nilly, sanctioning the media-induced panic, it’s possible a few people skipped the large outdoor public gathering.
But no matter why you skipped the game, you missed a fun day. No rain — a bit of sun even. Great soccer with awesome athletes who happen to be women. A great scoring line, with a well-coached win. And no one got sick.
Be there on Sunday, May 24. Please.
** That would be my wife. She didn’t bring the girls to yesterday’s game either, although probably not due to any of the lame excuses mentioned above. Her parents were in town — callously unaware of the Pride’s home schedule — and she wanted to visit with them. Cool with me, ‘cept she was also the one who mentioned to me this morning that I hadn’t updated this blog in a while. Whatever.
She’s the pot; I’m the kettle.