(image courtesy Toronto FC)
In case anyone was wondering… watching Toronto FC lose an action packed thrillfest of a home opener last Saturday afternoon with over 20,000 other screaming, chanting, singing idiots was without question the best time I’ve had at a pro-sports event in many, many years.
The final score was 1-nil for Kansas City, and still we cheered. If it had ended nil-nil, we might have gone insane with joy at being present when the team earned its historic first point. For goal-loving hockey fans there’s no logic to any of this, so don’t bother looking. Understanding the mentality of a soccer crowd only happens inside the crowd.
You’d think a sold out stadium of delirious fans entertained to within an inch of their lives by a 1-0 loss would make the local sports media sit up and take notice, if only for the weird novelty of it all. And while there was some begrudging coverage of the event by the major dailies, most of the hockey industrial complex made a point of bad-mouthing the whole idea of a soccer as a sport. One radio commentator wondered how long it would take for local fans to come to their senses and start ignoring “this garbage.” And this is a guy who covers the Leafs.
This summer Canada will host the FIFA Under-20 World Cup tournament, with games played across the country. The final will take place on Toronto FC’s home pitch at BMO Field in July. I expect the local headlines to be about hockey players in celebrity golf tournaments.