I support my boys in green. I stand with them. I sing for them. I wear a scarf in the dog days of summer. I drag a giant Scotland flag around with me to support my two surviving Scots.
I don’t tell you this to paint myself as some sort of superfan. I just love my club. I want to see them succeed. I want better for them than what’s happening this season.
Not for me. For them.
I’ve been ranting for a week straight now. Perkins to Montreal. Chabala to DC. Gavin being Gavin. John Strong and Timbers in 30 toeing the company line. That horrifying “interview” with Merritt. The Willamette Week interview with Troy Perkins that was far more telling than anything coming from the FO.
There’s this feeling I’m having a hard time describing. I have all these things I want to say and am struggling to put them into words.
People are talking about a boycott.
My head hurts. My heart hurts.
What does this boycott look like? Is it really a boycott if we all still show up at Jeld-Wen on gameday?
I’m currently landing pretty solidly in the concessions boycott camp. I cannot fathom not being in the stadium to cheer for my boys, but I can certainly do it without a beer and a hot dog. Money speaks.
We’re in the middle of discussing this on Twitter, as we have been for a week. “So, I’ll spend $20 to support the boys, but not $7.25 for a beer? I guess I don’t understand the logic,” a fellow RCTIDer tweets to me. Sigh.
I’m not sure I’m the one to explain it, but here goes.
I’m a season ticket holder. I see those tickets as an agreement with the team that I will be there, that I will show up and support them, win, lose or draw, in all weather, against any opponent.
An agreement with the team that I will support them.
This does not mean that I will offer my undying support for every ill-advised, poorly-timed, absolutely ludicrous decision made by the front office nor will I stand idly by as the FO attempts to spin the story to make those decisions look less ill-advised, poorly-timed and ludicrous.
Yes, I’ve contacted my ticket rep. At this point, I’m stunned that he even responds. I’m sure, when he opens his email in the morning and sees my name, there is a deep sigh as he reaches for his coffee. I know that ranting at him (venting to him?) isn’t going to change the course of the season. It isn’t going to unseat Gavin. It isn’t going to stop the ridiculous spin.
But we have to take any opportunity to express our frustration, don’t we?
How far are we willing to go?
My guy in the FO, when I asked him a month ago, said that the normal rules still apply. Distasteful and/or offensive displays might get you a talking-to. Yet the rumor is still circulating that any anti-Gavin display is going to earn you a ban.
Again, how far are we willing to go?
I’m trying to understand all of this. I’m trying to get a handle on how and what I feel.
It comes down to this: Gavin has got to go. If a GWOut t-shirt gets me hauled out of the North End, so be it. I’ll be with a hundred others in the same situation. If a GWOut two-stick gets others kicked out, they can stand with us on the sidewalk.
A moment (or several moments) of silence during the match? This is where we are divided.
What message does it send? What does it say to our boys?
It says we care.
It does not say we do not support them. Quite the contrary. It says we care enough to make a statement. It says we are united in our passion for this club.
Aside from that, through the magic of Twitter and Facebook, we have the ability to alert them to any protest ahead of time. A few words of explanation and I’m sure they’d understand.
But are we there yet?
Are we willing to stand silently, to hush those around us who may not understand, to spread the word beforehand not just among fellow supporters, but also to those members of the team who are most accessible to us? Are we willing to do this?
Some of us are. But collectively? I’m not so sure.
What will it take?
I’m not an organizer. I’m not normally a protestor. I’m barely a blogger.
But I’m ready for whatever happens. And something needs to happen.
I’ve been warned of the repercussions, the possibility of ejections and bans. I’ve been offered advice, as though I were going to step in and be the protest organizer. I’m not, but I’ll pass along the advice.
Stay sober. Stay serious. If it’s important enough for you to launch a formal protest, it’s important enough for you to keep your wits about you.
Have photographers present. You can’t swing a scarf in the North End without hitting a camera or a smartyphone, but those wielding them need know the whens and wheres in order to properly capture not just the protest, but whatever aftermath there may be.
If you’re ejected, go with dignity. We’ll meet you at BE afterward and Chris Cooper will probably buy you a beer. If you’re banned, shout about it long and loud to anyone who will listen. Social media is your friend. No one should be denied access to their club because they have expressed an opinion.
I sincerely doubt that it will come to this. Any sort of protest, organized or otherwise, should cause the FO some frustration but I would hope that, even in turbulent times such as these, an expression of opinion would not bring down the ban-hammer. But this is the same FO that sent out a survey about reserved seating in the North End and was shocked when the response was swift and harsh. They appear, at the moment, to be tone deaf.
As I am wont to do, I’ve talked to some of our TA elders about the current situation with the club. I keep hearing the same things over and over. We’ve been in some pretty crappy places before. We’ve had some difficult, wrenching seasons. The difference now is the scale of things. Bigger stage. More at stake. Many, many more people involved. This is a much harder ship to steer but we can hardly expect it to right itself now that it’s been taking on water for so long.
Again, I’m not an organizer. I can’t encourage you to participate in whatever protest happens. But I’ll keep you up to date if there seems to be a consensus on what that protest will be.
Make your own choice.