Restart opportunityby Steve De Rose
November 18, 2004 - Major Indoor Soccer League 2 (MISL 2)
I booked this trip a month ago. The Major Indoor Soccer League schedule showed that the two-time defending Champion Baltimore Blast would host the Milwaukee Wave for the first time since Game #3 of last season's Finals. On the next evening, they would get their first experience of the new, expansion Chicago Storm. On Sunday, the Storm would flitter up to Philadelphia for their first game versus the KiXX.
When the schedule was made, this was actually version 2a, the one without the Dallas Sidekicks. This Friday's home game for the Blast was not on version 1.
The Blast have been crippled this early season by the "injury bug". Entering this game aainst the Wave, they had already lost Addison De Lima, Allen Eller, Danny Kelly, and P. J. Wakefield to physical maladies. Two other players; Denison Cabral, and Carlos Garcia; were also injured, but would dress and play.
Readers of these columns, or those who browse on-line fora orbiting around the League, know about the insinuations that the Blast play footsy with the League's salary cap regulations; by hiring the players to work at team owner Edwin Hale, Sr.'s bank.
Perhaps, the League has stealthily instituted a by-law minimizing a team owner's ability to do this. Because, on this Friday night, with all the players unavailable to play for the Blast due to their injuries, nobody had been signed to even a short-term contract. When it was time for Blast head coach Tim Wittman (Hint: I do not underline the name of a head coach unless he is a player-coach.) to submit the game roster: Yes, back-up goalkeeper Brian Rowland was on it, and he was accompanied by starting GK Sagú; but it consisted of only eleven field players. The Wave brought sixteen players, left GK Dan Green back in Milwaukee (But he still didn't start on Saturday.), and even held one player completely out of the game.
You will not defeat the Milwaukee Wave with only eleven field players. Making matters worse: During the first half, both D. Cabral and C. Garcia reinjured themselves. They did not return. Both would have examinations on Saturday morning.
The Blast could be heading for that untenable corner (shades of the Gino DiFlorio - Harrisburg HEAT scenario!) of having to determine if a player should be put on the "unable to perform" roster; which would free up the salary money; but would also rule out being able to restore that player to the roster in March or April. The Blast gave it the old college try; but they could only get one goal, and lost to the Wave by 1-6. More unfulfilling was the crowd of only 3223 in the Baltimore Arena, which was attributed to this opening appearing only on schedule version 2a, and a persistent inclement rainshower which drowned the walk-up (audience).
Friday's match was kibitzed by two other Chicagoans: Head Coach Frank Klopas, and Nick DiBenedetto of the Chicago Storm.
The injuries of the Blast seemed to offer a valuable occasion for the Storm franchise. Here was an opening for the expansion Storm to steal a game which they should not be able to otherwise attain. While Baltimore had cancelled their telecast of Saturday's match versus Chicago, those in Chicago learning about the game only via conventional media would not necessarily know that an historic victory for the team (over the back-to-back defending League Champions on their home field) was due to a 16-to-11 roster advantage.
You still must play the game. I have been in attendance at games when the short-rostered home team overcame the deficit(s) and defeated the visitors. (In one instance, on a final-minute sixth-attacker goal.) This encompasses matches when the guests should have prevailed at full strength.
The Storm started Danny Waltman, on-loan from the Seattle Sounders (USL First Division), in goal. Sagú would be in goal again for the Blast. (This was perplexing. On Friday night, Sagú had sporadically dribbled out of his box, out of his zone, and even to the midfield stripe before making a pass to another Blast player. It would have been pragmatic for T. Wittman to put B. Rowland in the goal, and dress Sagú as a field player.)
Instead, T. Wittman performed these options: He signed Machel Millwood, a teammate of Scott Schweitzer on the now-defunct Syracuse Salty Dogs (USL First Division) team, to a 15-day contract; and, he activated himself as a field player.
The Storm have been above average on dead ball situations, and on the man-advantage. They would get both of those at the 2:58 mark of the first quarter. The Storm's Andy Rosenband had slipped to the inside left edge of the Blast penalty box, and was about to shoot, when he was pulled down by the Blast's Billy Nelson, who was penalized for tripping.
The Blast set up a two-man wall; but it was imprecise. Novi Marojevic put the restart just to the left of the starboard player, and just inside the right post.
They would make it 0-2 a third of the way through the second quarter. Novi would collect a ball on the right wing in the Blast's defensive zone. He was attempting a shot (no matter what he may have uttered afterward). He mis-hit the ball. It went not toward the goal, but laterally to his left, where Byron Alvarez was able to step into the ball and roof it past Sagú.
I will write more about D. Waltman later. I inform you about his (on-loan) outdoor status because he tends to roam for balls in his zone. The outdoor penalty box is much larger than the indoor one. In all the games I've seen him play, there are episodes where he challenges for a ball where he should not. Sometimes he gets caught. But not every time.
The Blast would score when D. Waltman was gulled on a ball near the left wing boards. He legally swept the ball off the feet of Lee Tschantret. But the ball would carom off the left board directly back to L. Tschantret. A Storm player was positioned on the goal line. So L. Tschantret crossed the ball to Giuliano Celenza near the penalty arc on the right center. G. Celenza blazed a shot high into the net. Halftime again was 1-2 for the visitors.
The third quarter saw the Blast increasing their tilt of the field, but they were not getting many glimpses of the goal. The Storm had been called for a second encroachment infraction with 13 seconds left in the second quarter. This is not a man-advantage penalty. It removes a player from the bench for at least five minutes. We did not get a "guaranteed substitution" moment until the 11:47 mark of the third quarter. Chicago's Jorgé Vallé wound up serving a twelve-minute penalty.
The Storm would get the critical next goal. After getting a long right wing cross from Tijani Ayegbusi, Matthew Stewart would dribble back toward the top of the penalty box and salvo a shot which found Sagú potentially anticipating a shot going to his right. The ball went to his left, over his left leg. This was the only score of the quarter.
Between the quarters, T. Wittman must have told his players to take more shots. The Blast had taken 20 shots for the game to that point. Of those shots, only nine had gone through to D. Waltman. The Blast would have the chance to recoil the Storm when, in a collision for a 50/50 ball rolling away from the Storm zone into midfield, the Blast's David Bascome was judged to have been tripped by the Storm's Jonah Long.
The Blast increased their intensity, but were nearly shocked when, on a counterattack, the Storm's Andy Guastaferro, in a one-on-one drill versus Sagú, had his shot from the left wing, heading for the upper right corner, tipped up and out for a corner kick. The Storm killed off the penalty.
The Blast would go to L. Tschantret as sixth attacker. Several shots were taken during this span, with the most parlous ones eminating from Tarik Walker. D. Waltman was able to save on both of them. But he needs a refresher course on the new indoor rules. Twice in the final minute, after making a save, he threw the ball over all three lines; which gives the opponent a yellow-line restart. L. Tschantret bumped into a Storm player and went down with an injury, but this was not serious. It meant that S. Schweitzer had to be the sixth attacker for the final 32 seconds. The Storm won the game by 1-3.
The Blast took nineteen shots in the fourth quarter. D. Waltman had ten saves, and the defense blocked the others. For the game, the Storm had 15 shots to the Blast's 39. Attendance this night was 6511.
On Sunday, the Storm (and I) motored up to Philadelphia, PA. The KiXX had defeated the San Diego Sockers on Saturday night by 4-2. Just under 4000 people viewed the game at the Spectrum. The result pushed the KiXX's record to 4-0.
The KiXX switched in goal from Peter Pappas to Stuart Dobson. The Storm, on the contrary, did not put their fresh GK Jeff Richey in the goal. D. Waltman got the back-to-back, less than 18 hours start.
Here I dewrite the plexiglass at each end of the Spectrum. It is unlike that of Milwaukee's Wisconsin Center Arena. The panels of plexiglass directly over each goal are a half-foot shorter than the panels to their immediate left and right.
The turf on the field is in rough shape. The old three-point arc has been erased (unlike in Baltimore | Does Philadelphia have an indoor lacrosse team this season?), but what is adhering each strip to the next is green adhesive tape. Maybe it looks better on television. This game was being televised. Comcast®'s CN8 channel, was originating it. (The game will be televised on Chicago's Comcast SportsNet channel on Thursday.)
The Storm could have scored in the fourth minute. A ball was played toward Byron Alvarez. He was open in the top of the penalty box, and the KiXX goal was gaping. But the ball was rolling behind him back toward midfield. His attempt to scoop the ball toward the net with a right leg sweep placed the ball completely over the net's short plexiglass.
They would have to wait another 1½ minutes. Lazo Alavanja, along the left wing boards, crossed all the way over to the right wing center, where Novi would strike it first-time. The ball zoomed low to the right past S. Dobson. This put the KiXX down by 0-1, and it also drew a charged time-out from them.
The KiXX drew up some plays designed to trap D. Waltman. On their first salvo, they managed to cause him to give away the ball in his own penalty box. D. Waltman managed to avert catastrophe by slide-tackling the ball off KiXX player-coach Don D'Ambra's feet. The ball deflected back to midfield, where Edgar Bartolomeu volleyed a shot. D. Waltman saved this with his right foot halfway in the box.
The KiXX would pressure further, and finally forced a critical error from D. Waltman. Goran Vasic played a cross toward the right corner kick spot. D. Waltman came out of his box to clear it; but the ball struck the end boards, hit him in the hip, and bounced back toward a now-vacated net with the KiXX's John Barry Nusum the only player nearby. Even Rich Paschette would have sunk this ball. The end of the first quarter came 1-1.
The Storm would get a free kick from the edge of the penalty box just to the right of the top of the arc restart spot. What the KiXX expected on the restart I honestly cannot determine. For on this restart, the Storm's Leo Pernia ran up to the ball and blazed it through what was supposed to be a two-man wall. S. Dobson has no recourse. The goal came at 0:39.
They opened it out to 1-3 in the sixth minute. On an odd-man break, the Storm's A. Rosenband took a shot. He was aiming for the upper left corner. It was saved by S. Dobson, but only as far as ex-KiXX player (and U.S.A. Futsal National Team member) Andy Guastaferro. A. Guastaferro's first salvo was too high; but it managed to strike the plexiglass over the net and redeflect straight back. With S. Dobson now writhing like a landed salmon on the turf; he put this shot in the upper left corner. This was his first point, and his first goal of the season.
The KiXX would sink a restart goal of their own 89 seconds later. After a kick from the Storm's defensive zone erroneously went over the side plexiglass, giving the KiXX a top of the arc restart; G. Vasic would tap the ball over to Kevin Sloan to his left. His first-time shot roared over D. Waltman's left shoulder for 2-3.
One kept expecting the KiXX to shake off their lethargy. Both teams had played the previous night; but the KiXX weren't sleeping in an hotel, and had not rode a motor coach on an 102 mile trip.
The KiXX would get a superb opportunity to level the scoreline again when, after a typical forward v. defender scuffle; a shot was taken which was saved by D. Waltman. He was about to hurl the ball upfield when the whistle blew so our referees (including Tim Tyma, in what was his first match involving Chicago) could inspect the prone KiXX forward. Their prognosis resulted in a very late blue card being pulled on the Storm's Gaston Pernia. But they could not score on the man advantage. The Storm had the best opportunity during the two minutes. M. Stewart found a marauding L. Pernia cutting toward the goal from the left wing. His first-time shot beat S. Dobson, but it did not beat the right goal post.
The Storm would make it 2-4, which was the halftime score, when J. Vallé goaled on a cross from Chris Carrieri.
It seemed that the KiXX might finally be revived when they got a flaky indoor goal at 3:20 of the third quarter. Ze Roberto, pressed up against the boards on the left wing, kicked the ball along the curvature of them. D. Waltman sprawled to his left, away from goal, anticipating the ball entering the center of the penalty box.
The ball abraded a wrinkled edge of the artificial turf (which had been laid on top of a particle board partition in order to shorten the time needed to turn the Spectrum from indoor soccer to minor league ice hockey (Philadelphia's American Hockey League team versus Chicago's American Hockey League team.)). This changed the spin of the ball from clockwise to counter-clockwise. The ball rolled along the end boards until it intersected with the open left goal post and spun into the Storm net. It was now 3-4.
The Storm, and D. Waltman especially, disregarded the flaky goal. Then, 2½ minutes afterward, they got a restart at the top of the arc. Again, somehow, the KiXX did not properly assemble enough of a wall directly between the spot and their goal. Costea Decu ran up to the ball and blazed it through everything on its way into the net. This shot was so swift and hard; the game clock did not decrement.
The KiXX began pressing a bit more. For this, they were assailed by a counter attack. Novi beat his mark on the right wing. As another KiXX defender responded to this breach, he slotted the ball over to M. Stewart on the left edge of the penalty box. M. Stewart's first-time shot was low and keenly inside the left post. The third quarter ended 3-6.
With this three-goal lead, Storm head coach F. Klopas was able to lengthen his bench. Sandré Naumoski and David Schneider were given more shifts in the fourth quarter. D. Schneider used his time proficiently. At 5:19, he sent a crossing ball from near the boards on the right wing of the KiXX's defensive zone to Novi on the left wing. Novi's first-time shot zipped low to the left of a switching S. Dobson.
The KiXX would get one more goal when, on a rough line change, the Storm would be unsure of who should be concerned with whom in their defensive zone. Bodies were challenged, but one of the Pernia Bros. would fail to adequately cover J. B. Nusum. He goaled from 18 feet out on the center right wing. The KiXX went to Pat Morris as sixth attacker with 1:44 remaining; but they couldn't penetrate the Storm's defensive formation. The Storm won by 4-7.
Keeping in mind the eight-year suspension of professional indoor soccer in Chicago; the victories by the Storm in Baltimore and Philadelphia are the first back-to-back on-the-road victories for Chicago since the last weekend of March 1994 (Saturday night in Wichita; Sunday afternoon in Kansas City.). The League has honored Danny Waltman and Costea Decu with "Players of the Week" awards. The Storm will have an extended break in their schedule. Their next match is not until 26 November, when they will again host the Wave at the U.I.C. Pavilion. On 20 November, the KiXX will host the Monterrey TIGRES, and the Blast shall host the Saint Louis STEAMERS. The League schedule has been thinned so that its players (and coach) who are members of the U.S.A. Futsal National Team can compete in the Futsal Championships in Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) from 21 November - 5 December (potentially).
I thank Ms. Amy Keller of the Blast, and Mr. David Deal of the KiXX, for their help and assistance at the games this weekend.
You are free to leave now. If you are a "just the facts" reader, or if you are one of my detractors who scours my columns for future potential extortion material, you will not find any substantive data in these paragraphs. If you opt to read on, I mandate some degree of tolerance from you. I am aware that intolerance seems to be particularly popular and successful these days; but I will not stoop to such. I maintain a higher standard.
Going to Baltimore and Philadelphia this past weekend triggered some deep latent retentions. It has been ten years since the Chicago Power lost their owner, and the National Professional Soccer League was operating the franchise.
Being told this in person by the then-League Commissioner Steve M. Paxos when I paid a courtesy call to the League office on the Thursday of the 1994 United Soccer Boosters Convention in Canton, OH. was shocking. The Commissioner told me, "Do whatever you can to encourage people to buy tickets. Keep up the word there - but don't spend any money."
The League scheduled the Power to open the 1994-95 season on the road in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Both games were versus the Baltimore Spirit. The game in Philadelphia was a home game for Chicago. It was the first indoor soccer game in Philadelphia since the Fever (of the old MISL) had gone defunct after the 1981-82 season.
Part of the plan for "keeping up the word" was getting Power games on radio and television. The largest advantage we had then was the labor situations in major league baseball and professional ice hockey. Their games were not occurring. Ours were. In Chicago, one AM radio station had the broadcast rights to franchises in both of those entertainments.
I asked my friend and associate Jim Egan, with whom I had been doing the statistics for the Power, as well as being a frequent accompanist on road trips to League games, and who was also a public address announcer for Concordia Univ. - River Forest; if he wanted to be the play-by-play guy for these games. (I would be the color commentator.) Jim may have wanted to do this, but that specific weekend was Concordia's gridiron team's "homecoming weekend". He could not forsake that.
(It was also the weekend of the Great American Beer Festival® in Denver, CO.; but I was willing to forgo that.) I contacted Mr. Keith Kokinda, who wanted to become a soccer broadcaster, and who was living in the suburbs of Cleveland, OH. then. I told Keith that nothing was certain, and he should probably figure that all the expenses would be out of his pocket. Keith took the opportunity. I helped him find a cheap flight on Southwest Airlines from Cleveland to Baltimore. I would be motoring from Chicago to Baltimore in my 1987 Chevrolet Sprint. We would share a hotel room in Baltimore and I would drive us to Philadelphia.
Being plunged into an atmosphere of uncertainty was mildly daunting. On opening night in Baltimore, 34% of our players were new. Keith and myself were recording the game on audiotape, as my last-minute negotiations had not landed us an outlet willing to broadcast the game for free. (Even though we had no sponsors, so the station could fill our commercial breaks with whatever ads they had and | or needed to make good; and keep all the profits from it.) The combination of new players, new Power black jerseys (by adidas®) with hard-to-comprehend red numbers, and those numbers only on the rear of each player's shirt, made our broadcast vexatious.
We made no glaring errors, and uttered nothing controversial. We also adhered to the League's recommendation that we should not mention the team's ownership status.
The next afternoon, Keith and I motored up to Philadelphia. In the lobby of the Holiday Inn Stadium hotel, we finally were able to identify some of the newer guys on the Power roster (by introducing ourselves to them). The most exposing comment eminated from Mr. Chris Mota, who was a Power team assistant: "George Wendel is playing for the Power because he answered his telephone the other morning."
Our broadcast on Saturday night went much smoother. I also attribute this to being introduced to Mr. Ed Tepper, who was one of the principals looking to bring indoor soccer back to Philadelphia. To me, Mr. Ed Tepper - nobody more so - is the person most responsible for the popularization of indoor soccer in the early 1980s. To finally meet him, and learn that he felt the NPSL was the optimum indoor soccer League in North America, when his background seemed to infer that he would tender an offer to join the Continental Indoor Soccer League, was inspiring. Keith and I were also introduced to another gentleman who was seeking to host a Power home game: A Mr. Richard Abbate, of New Haven, CT. He tersely uttered that the date for which he was aiming was 17 March. He queried to us about the method of establishing a soccer booster club for the team. We rapidly told him that the team should not have any direct connection to a booster club, and handed him a Soccer Solidarity flyer, with a recommendation to contact it, as they had multiple members who knew the ins-and-outs of soccer boosterdom.
The Power lost the game that night as well. They played better. Juan Carranza made some shootouts; which had been one of the Power's problematic areas in previous seasons. Keith and mine's broadcast was improved. The ending to this vignette has a twist. After this game, I drove us back to Baltimore. Keith had an early Sunday morning flight back to Cleveland. He was going to attend that Sunday afternoon's Canton Invaders' home game. He did.
By the following Saturday, when the Power were in Canton to contend the Invaders, Keith had been hired by Warner Cable of Akron | Canton to broadcast the Invaders' games! (Warner Cable had something to offer Keith which we did not have: money.)
Sitting on media row in the Philadelphia Spectrum on this past Sunday afternoon burst the dam locks. (This is not a typo!) Everything came flooding through.
I began individually (or in small clusters) attending out-of-town soccer matches in 1987. I recall going to Indianapolis, IN. for the U.S.A. men's soccer Pan-American Games matches. The full men's National Team frequently played matches at the soccer park in Fenton, MO. (a southwest suburb of Saint Louis). I would be there for quite a few matches, including World Cup Qualifiers.
I covered my first indoor soccer match as a journalist for Soccer Solidarity in January 1990: It was the NPSL All-Star Game in Detroit, MI. I was even able to play in the media pre-game match.
I began flying on Southwest Airlines in March 1993. The cause was the 1993 NPSL All-Star Game in Cleveland. I had to fly: The Power had a rescheduled three-games-in-three-days episode attributed to the Denver Thunder fiasco. We had an away game versus the Thunder in Rockford, IL. on Monday night; the day before the All-Star Game. It was an away game in name only: All the off-field personnel were from Chicago, including Mr. Chris Clark as the public address announcer, and Jim Egan and myself as the statisticians. If the two of us were going, we probably would have motored to Cleveland immediately after the end of the game in Rockford. But Jim was attending a Grateful Dead concert at the Rosemont Horizon that Tuesday.
I got to Midway Airport quite early for my flight to Cleveland. I was not used to flying out of Midway; so I gave myself a thick cushion of time to get there via transit. The queue to checkin at the Southwest counter was so lengthy, I had time to fill out an application for Southwest's "Company Club" frequent flyer program. (I was (and still am) a member of other carriers' FF programs.) The terms for Southwest's FF program were quite relaxed. They paid out one credit for each flight, not miles. Get to twenty credits in a 365-day period, and you earned a free round-trip anywhere they served. The "catch" back in 1993 was: You had to present this glossy paper brochure to the ticket counter or gate agent each time you checked in. He | She would rubber-stamp it. If you lost or misplaced this brochure and subsequently flew on Southwest, you would not get any credit. Southwest was unaware of you until you mailed the completed brochure to them.
I earned a second and third credit when I flew to Kansas City for the Power's season-ending match in Wichita; which was the site of that summer's U.S.B.C. I wanted to spec-out Wichita beforehand. It would not be the last time I would fly to K. C. and motor to Wichita. It turned out that Wichita's first brewpub since before Prohibition opened that Saturday as well.
In December 1993, Southwest liberalized the program. Now, you only needed sixteen credits to earn the free round-trip. When they ceased operation at Detroit City Airport, flights into DTW were temporarily given double credit. By February 1994, I needed two more round trips to earn the free flight. My best options were to fly to Saint Louis for that season's All-Star Game; and attending a late Sunday afternoon match in Kansas City; which was the tail end of another three-games-in-three-days episode.
It was this weekend when the first signs of franchise fissure appeared. The League Commissioner was in town for our home game on Saturday. (When some Detroit Rockers' boosters who had communicated they would be there did not materialize at our post-game party, he wound up with the six-pack of craft beers which was intended for them.)
On Sunday night in Kansas City, a Ms. Gayle Marshall was performing the role usually filled by Peter Wilt.
I made my quota. I got to sixteen before 365 days elapsed. My magnetic membership card, and a glossed and embossed round-trip certificate arrived in the mail before the end of March. It was valid to earn credits on the FanAddicts' group flight to Kansas City, for those games in K. C. and Wichita at the end of the month.
I had earned my free round-trip for short flights to Cleveland, Detroit, Saint Louis, and Kansas City; but I wasn't going to use a certificate for a free round-trip to one of those cities. This certificate was applied to go to San Jose, CA.; for a two-week vacation starting the day after the World Cup 1994 U.S.A. Final. There were also six C.I.S.L. matches in San Jose and Sacramento during this span.
As Southwest kept expanding its service, it began attracting additional FF partners. When I investigated the cost for Keith to fly from Cleveland to Baltimore; I learned how little Southwest actually charged. Its prices were lower than driving. ($29 to Detroit; $33 to Cleveland; $35 to Saint Louis; $39 to Kansas City) Since then, it has become very easy to pile up FF credits. As I write this, I have two award roundtrips sitting in my bank. I will recheck it in another week to see if it has yet credited my credits from this past weekend. (I put the flights on my Visa® card, which I seldom ever use, because Southwest offered double credits for that.)
Since this time; I have flown across the U.S.A. I have viewed or covered soccer matches from San Diego, CA. and Seattle, WA.; to Sunrise, FL. and Foxborough, MA.; and many, many point in between. There is one international flight to Montreal, Quebec, Canada also.
When we lost the Power, I still so enjoyed indoor soccer that I gladly sent myself to other League cities to view matches. Becoming an on-line reporter of the League, first for Mr. Dylan Sides of SportsBytes; and now for Mr. Paul Reeths of Our Sports Central, has kept me out here for this time.
If you will allow me, it has been a sentience, an outpost. A physical representation that despite the cataclysm of the Chicago Power, Chicago was still a soccer city. It would support both outdoor and indoor soccer, if given quality franchises.
What used to be a 90-minute drive from Chicago to Milwaukee now takes 130 minutes, on the same roads. Getting myself to the airport to comply with increased security regulations now involves significantly longer transit times. If I actually have to book myself onto a flight which leaves at 7:50 am (because it's the only non-stop on Southwest which would allow me to check into my hotel, and get to the arena, in time for the game); I have to leave the domicile here at 4:40 am. The 2002 World Cup has permanently altered my circadian rhythms. I can lie down and try to get some rest any time of day. But I will not fall asleep until 5:00 am. I am 48½ years of age, readers. I am a zombie in the morning hours. Even putting myself in an arena for a team's "morning game" did not help. The combination of the metamorphoses of travelling throughout the U.S.A.; the insular postures of electorates in several states which have professional soccer franchises; and the institution of expenses and fees by taxing authorities deliberately aimed at those who were not eligible to vote on the measure(s) have finally, after 11½ years, tipped my scale to the other side.
I do not need to go elsewhere anymore.
Indoor soccer shall always be in my lifeblood. My soccer zine, "Incendiary Words", shall continue to be published. The next issue will be out in December. With the parturition of the Chicago Storm, I can view and report on indoor soccer without having to haul my carcass to other jurisdictions. I am resolute that the Storm franchise is well-founded (and well-funded). My fears that they could be a re-attirement of the last few years of the Power have been quelled.
So I will finally accept my discharge. To all of you, wherever you might reside across the U.S.A., it has been nice to be there. (The alphabetic list of all the cities where I have viewed or covered a professional soccer match was edited from here in the interest of saving bandwidth. If you would like to have it, please contact me privately.) I will not write that I shall never return to the road. For now, I cannot see it occurring for the "duration". And I am not the person who will decide when the "duration" concludes.
Finally, let me annotate my appreciation to Mr. Tom Higginson, of the Let's Play Soccer indoor soccer facilities. This past Monday, Tom H. (he will prefer that I refer to him as thus) closed "the Indoor Soccer Forum", which was linked from the main page. It was a keen repository for factual and incisive discussions pertinent to indoor soccer. Sadly, it was beset by people who preferred to use it to engage in derogatory and uncivil demagoguery aimed at those who were presenting advance notice of what actually later occurred.
As a journalist, I highly respect, and shall always strive to protect, the need for anonymity. But anonymity also requires some accountability. An anonymous statement must be able to be independently corroborated. Good anonymous informers leave a mechanism where a protective journalist can reach him | her to solidify the facts underneath the anonymous assertion. Most of the anonymous statements scrawled at the Indoor Soccer Forum were of the scurrilous type which could not be corroborated, and were posted under fictitious E-Mail addresses. When these anonymous statements did not come to fruition; it did not prevent these persons from continuing to post new statements. Those who noted the inaccuracy of the prior assertion were ignored, or scorned, by the anonymous poster. Eventually, those who were perceptive to what was taking place with a soccer team or league (including yours truly) ceased lurking or posting there.
It is a result of the "dumbing down" of the Internet. There are now too many neophytes who do everything wrong when they are on-line. They click on E-Mail attachments which launch virii or capture their computer. They respond to, and spend money on, products and services sold via spam. They file complaints with World-Wide Web hosts about sites which espouse opinions which they do not like. And they already knew how to express, "... (Did you really expect me to type in a vulgar and uncourtly epithet?) ..."
When these dupes discovered on-line fora, those fora which were not using a registration mechanism were forced to respond retroactively. If an offensive entry was made, a moderator had to edit it or remove it.
Tom H. (and Heather): Thank you for all the work you did with it.
A forum such as what exists at Misl.net or Bigsoccer.com, has a registration mechanism. Bigsoccer also has a disciplinary scheme. A member can be given a yellow card, or be barred from the forum via a red card. This helps, but it is not tamper-proof. There is nothing preventing a member who has been red-carded under one nickname from re-registering under another nickname and E-Mail address.
Major Indoor Soccer League 2 Stories from November 18, 2004
- Restart opportunity - OSC Original by Steve De Rose
- Wave set to battle Tigres Friday night - Milwaukee Wave
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.