BY JASON CORLISS
And, now… let the wild rumpus start!!!
An interstitial edition of South Ward Snapshot this week, as I wanted to check in post-Philly/pre-Montréal, and share some thoughts on our Mother’s Day visit down to the land of Bimbo.
It was a tremendous trip for the traveling contingent of supporters, as we were treated well by Philly security and had no real issues with rival fans. In fact, some of them seemed to find our passion quite charming. Of course, it being Mother’s Day, we wished their moms the best in as many creative ways as we could, and some of our number availed themselves of the facilities of the Chester Beach Club, taking a cooling dip in the festering, virus-filled waters running by the stadium (radioactive hazmat suits optional).
We couldn’t have been happier with the result, and the experience. For a handful of people, like the DC trip before it, this trip marked their first away day, and every single one of them vowed to do it again at the very next opportunity. Why? Maybe it was something in the water (although, I hope not…it was really nasty). Likelier, though, the answer is ‘because’.
Although there’s plenty to be said about RBNY’s great escape on the pitch, it’s already been discussed thoroughly on this site and elsewhere, so we won’t be getting into that today. Instead, I wanted to touch on something that’s been gnawing at me for much of the season, which came into some focus last week, and finally clicked into place on Sunday. As I mentioned in my last column, I’m equally fascinated by not just the concept of motivation but actual application of it. Or, how it is we get from “why” to “because”.
As all seven of you probably know, Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, died last week. I remember when I got my first copy of the book — as the prize for winning my 2nd grade spelling bee (on ‘bulldozer’) – and I read it that day. Several times. It felt like an awesomely sacred secret text. I couldn’t understand how this dark and scary book about a kid who fights with his mom could be a “children’s book,” and assumed that there was more to it, somewhere beyond my eight-year-old comprehension.
Turns out I was right. The notion that Where the Wild Things Are is a “children’s book” does a great disservice to Sendak, who understood that the raw emotions of a child never mature with age, but it’s the child himself who, as he grows older, (hopefully) learns to better deal with his feelings and understands the places from which they come. Sure, it’s a book about a kid, and it’s theoretically meant for kids to read, but to dismiss it as “just” a kid’s book is to dismiss the validity of our own emotions. And, although I’ve read the book to my own daughter many times, and she’s read it back to me plenty more, I seem to forget…remember…and forget again Sendak’s lesson each time — which, I guess, is how we deal with emotions in the present tense, anyway.
But, the Wild Things cried,
Oh, please don’t go—we’ll eat you up—we love you so!
Thanks to the MLS schedule, this Mother’s Day tilt vs. Philly was bound to be the cause of some tension among the families of those who intended to travel down to Chester. And, even if one is fortunate enough to have a wife and/or mother who’re understanding enough to rearrange the Mother’s Day festivities (as I, VERY thankfully, am), the question still lingers…Why is it so important for ‘you’ to go to this game? Why do all this traveling? Enter Max, the protagonist of Where the Wild Things Are, and our proxy in this (sure to be semi-tortured) analogy.
The book begins with Max getting in trouble with his mom for causing mischief at home while dressed up in a wolf costume, and he’s sent to his room without dinner. Max retreats into his own imagination and finds himself channeling his emotion into a journey to a land of wild things, soon finding himself among creatures of his own kind, where he can express himself unbound by the restraints of home. Sound familiar?
Now, we can argue about what the “Wild Things” are…whether they’re Max’s (or our) own emotions, own fears, sense of adventure, the many unknowns in the outside world, rival supporters…you get the idea. But, ultimately it’s Max’s initiative to confront and overcome these specters that mirrors our often unconscious desire to do the same. Only once we’re able to embrace our need to be a part of our traveling tribes can we fully communicate that need to those who question it. And, it’s then that we are able to understand our own need for both the comforts of home and the ironic comfort of the unknown, and particularly our need to sprint headlong toward it with a beer in one hand, only to return home, back to ourselves.
So, we dance this dance as often as we can, as often as our loved ones and our own consciences will let us, in order to confront our unknowns by collecting as many of them as we can. After our travels within and without, we find ourselves back home. Regardless of the shape we’re in when we return, it’s there we must go, because it’s only from there that we can start anew. As Karen O sings in this song written for the Spike Jonze-directed film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, “All is love.” Not sure if she’s talking about doing super-extra-special-nice things for the women in your family so they’ll let you go to Philly on Mother’s Day, but it’s probably close enough.
Allons à Montréal! We’ll be heading to the City That Often Sleeps With You this weekend to support our RBNY boys, and I’ll be filing a column from the road…literally. We’ll be driving up on Friday afternoon, and I’ll be channeling my inner Sal Paradise once again in an effort to communicate the experience to the four of you still reading this. It’s gonna be a gas, man.