RBNY Optimist: I Hope You’re Satisfied

rbnyoptimist

BY RBNY OPTIMIST
Staff Writer

I can’t get no satisfaction
I can’t get no satisfaction
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try
— Jagger/Richards

Being a fan of soccer is an interesting experience these days. Being a fan of the US Men’s National Team AND the New York Red Bulls? Well, let’s just say it’s moved beyond interesting and into the “I don’t know how I should feel” territory.

Until the advent of the Internet, there was no easy way to get a feeling for the pulse of an entire fan base. We had pundits and newspaper columnists try to channel the overall zeitgeist of a team’s fans, basically telling us how we feel, but nowadays it only takes a quick spin around Twitter, discussion groups and blogs to get a feel for where people are at.

The last two weeks have been a challenging time for fans of both teams, akin to a ride on a roller coaster where you can’t see what’s ahead (If you’ve ever ridden “Space Mountain” in Disney World, you know what I’m talking about). All these ups and downs has me thinking, however, about our expectations and feelings as fans of a team.

And here’s the question that I’m thinking about this week: As a fan, when should we — when can we ALLOW ourselves to — feel satisfied?

Let’s take a look at the recent run of games from the USMNT and a quick review of fan reaction for a moment.
Decimation by Belgium: Unanimous Panic (even though no one should be surprised that Belgium is a better team than the US…and it was a friendly)

Beat Germany: Hey, we BEAT GERMANY! (And we were entertaining doing it!). Wow, that’s really satis… Wait. This was Germany’s “B” team (C team? L? R? How far into the alphabet do we have to go?). And we gave up two goals at the end. And the defense was pretty sloppy. Oh well, we beat Germany.

Beat Jamaica: We stepped up in a game that counted! Three points on the road in a World Cup Qualifier. That felt really satisfying! Oh, did it? Jamaica stinks! How could we let them score right at the end? Can’t we close out ANY team? And, by the way, that win against Germany doesn’t amount to anything. That fourth string team couldn’t beat Cuba, let alone the other teams in the Hex.

Beat Panama: This is the Klins-tastic team we’ve been waiting for! Aggressive, moving forward, imposing ourselves on an inferior opponent. Third goal in three games for Jozy. Can we be satisfied with this performance? Please? Well, it’s just Panama. And their best player, Blas Perez, was not on the field. Even with these caveats, can we feel satisfied now?

And what about New York’s Red and White? Well, the last two weeks have been more like the nauseating, “drop-hesitate-drop” plunge of The Tower of Terror than the aforementioned Futureland roller coaster.

Believe me, I know the vast majority of Red Bulls fans have a very simple answer to my question: We won’t be satisfied until we WIN something.

For a team with this history, that’s a very logical reaction, but it comes back to the whole reason why I think an “Optimistic” outlook is important. I’m not asking fans to declare full and utter satisfaction after every win, or even after the recent undefeated streak. If you flat out declare that you won’t be happy until our players are holding hardware and doing that weird jumping-up-and-down thing that seems to only exist after a soccer team wins a championship or trophy, then I think you are missing the joy in the journey.

You may be one of those people who are not happy unless they are not happy.

I know we have to have the long term goal in mind, but please allow yourself to celebrate victories along the way. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be disappointed, frustrated, and even angry at the team when it doesn’t perform well (see: this past Wednesday night, The Optimist slamming the laptop closed and going directly to bed at 9:45pm), but then let it go. And keep searching for that next dose of satisfaction, even if it’s only for a fleeting moment.

In the immortal words of the Rolling Stones, “Cause we try, and we try, and we try, and we try…”

  • I with Bob on this one. Wed night was so weak.
    I am happy we are in 2nd place. When you account for points per game its about a 5 way tie for 2nd. Optimistically we do have half a season improve. Hope for a win and a display of heart in Philly.

  • Anonymous

    To be fair, they played without Henry, Cahill, and Olave. But it does reveal how weak the other players are that make up the spine of the team: Holgersson, Alexander, McCarty. Need to sign a CM and CB.

  • Anonymous

    Show some love for our Keeper Luis Robles by texting “Robles” to 22442 an unlimited amount of times until July 2. You can also vote online at
    http://www.mlssoccer.com/all-star/2013/vote