Category Archives: Opinion

Bitching and Moaning

Okay let’s do some bitching and moaning because it is about time. Everything below is my uneducated and rambly opinion. You are free to disagree, but some of these are problems that are not new to this season.

Refs in the NPSL

Refs in the NPSL are usually somewhere between complete shit and utter shit. There are exceptions, Donovan, the ref from the May 29th game against Twin Stars is generally a good, fair ref and a decent person. Who ever was on the field today was a fucking idiot. His calls were so bad Lansing was calling him out!

The two biggest were the ignored penalty we should have gotten for a literal tackle against WMB and Lansing’s third goal which was wildly offside. That would have evened the score to 2-2 which was about what we had earned. Lansing got two legit goals, DCFC got its one.

But things like strikers getting shoved to the ground and then being called the ones to have committed the foul is 90% of the shit calls from NPSL refs.

They fucking suck and honestly it is the #1 reason I want out of the NPSL.

Lansing United

When you score – go celebrate with your fans you fucking pricks. Don’t come taunt us. Don’t taunt us for two reasons – first, your fans paid to be there and support you; recognize that and go celebrate with them for fuck’s sake. Second, NGS does what it can to make sure we stay under control, but it only takes one asshole to make the poor life choice to stick a bottle in your eye socket. For the love of Thor’s salty balls, don’t taunt opposing fans. That’s just a universal truth.

That single Sons of Ransom Cunt

Stay on your fucking side of the goddamned bleachers you thick-skulled moron. What the fuck were you thinking?

Detroit City Football Club

I’m pulling out the full name here because like my mum starting a sentence with “Nicholas” I need a chill to run down your spines. This is season four. Honeymoon is over. We, I, love Detroit City to death but the era of you can do no wrong is over. Time to take this shit seriously. I know you do, but it is time for all of us to take this shit seriously and that means getting feed back in more ways than smoke and cheers.

Offense – For the most part the offense looks good, but I personally feel that we hold onto the ball too long. We lose it a lot in the last third and it can be a pain. I feel like a lot of student players are still in the collegiate and academic sports mindset of “beautiful” soccer. That they have to pass and be team players. Every now and then just shoot it. Shoooot it. If you want we can get Sarge shouting it into a megaphone again.

Middle – For fuck’s sake can we please string together more than two passes in the middle without losing it? Seriously. I feel like fully 40% to 60% of our passes in the middle land at the feet of a player not wearing our colors. Along these lines, stop with the long pass forward. Even Brigid was getting irritated by this and she doesn’t understand soccer or even really care about sports. It seems like every single pass in the air has about 25% too much power. They go over our guy’s head and into the feet of an opponent. This has been our weakness time and time again. We are constantly losing it in the midfield and we are constantly losing it to long passes.

Wings – Alex the Great is getting a new/second nickname (as per Moz’s suggestion): 7-11 because that kid is always open and he’s a fucking beast (not sure what that has to do with 7-11 but work with me here) I feel like we always have one winger completely open and the defense and mid never seem to notice. Eyes up from the grass and lets position ourselves. Get the balls wide. Not every field is as narrow as Cass and we might not even be at Cass for much longer.

Defense – Communicate. If NGS is too loud, learn sign language. Deaf people been getting along just fine. But the constant miscommunication in the back is hurting and it is hurting hard.  On top of that I counted no less than four times in the first half of the Lansing game that the Lansing #10 was not only unmarked out on the wing, but onside. That’s fucking unacceptable. We’re lucky he was shit and was only good at shooting balls 30′ over the goal. Eyes up. Eyes FUCKING UP.

Goal – I’ll keep this short and it is going to hurt. There is a reason why we call Bret Mollon the brick wall and no one else.

 

Anyway, let’s end on a happy note – aye? This has been depressing. Here are my three standouts for the game.

Dave FUCKING Edwardson with a goddamned rocket from out of the box for his first ever Detroit City goal! Holy fuck. I can watch that all day.

That honestly made the whole day worth it. But as always, our beloved Geordie put up a good fight disrupting Lansing plays and taking control of the ball for the good guys.

Alex Isaevski is a mother fucking beast. That kid runs for days. He’s a winger. He’s a defender. He’s a fucking striker. There’s nothing Alex the Great can’t do. Fucking MotM, Fucking MotYear right there. Watching him is always, always a pleasure.

The WMB, the one and only Flash once again made his presence known, out dribbling hordes of defenders. He’s skills are honed to a razor’s edge. Let’s get some people up there to help him, there’s only one Messi guys.

English is Dead, Long Live English

The English language has died.

Time of death? Probably sometime in the 1100s.

Cause? Sudden Influx of Normans Syndrome (SINS).

Next of kin? English.

Wait. What?

I’ve decided, rather willingly to become irate about pedants bitching about the “devolution”, “worsening”, and nearly literal “death” of our wonderful, beautiful, resilient language because people say “literally” to mean “figuratively”, “irregardless” instead of “regardless”, and “who” instead of “whom.”

Madness!

Anarchy!

Fucking teenagers and their 133t-sp34k and their iPhone9s and their having of the pre-marital sex!

Blasphemy!

Simple and true, our language has died and it was slain by… pedants who insist on made-up rules drawn from Latin, long-winded explanations of how to use what should be simple words, and a need to correct people on when to use specific spellings or “well” vs “good.”

Language, I will and have argued, are not owned by editors, pedants, professors, or teachers. They are not owned by dictionaries or websites. Languages are owned by their speakers going so far to say that there is no correct way to truly speak a language.

English is a prime example of this because it has so many speakers both native and those who rely on it as a lingua franca. It also has a very high percentage of speakers who are well educated and productive members of the so-called first or developed world. It means we have a lot of free-time to bitch about how English is used and spelled.

Only rarely though are the pedants, though, discussing grammar. Often “Grammar Nazis” are really “Writing Nazis”. They’re focus is not the correct use of are language, rather the adherence to spelling and the proper use of commas, and apostrophe’s. Only really rarely do they try to dig any deeper then that and the two big times its they whom are wrong.

me-fail-english-thats-unpossible_605

 

“Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.” Okay, that is some real grammar. Why? “Uhh… because it is a rule.” No it’s not. “Yes it is.” No it’s not, it comes from Latin. Do we speak Latin? “No…” Fine, then it isn’t a rule for English.

“Well, as long as you don’t split the infinitive.” There, another grammar point. Why? “Hey, don’t start with me, pal.” No. Why? Why can’t I split the infinitive? It’s two words: to go. To play. To read. To snore. Again, it is a fake rule ripped from other languages. The infinitive in Latin (and in most languages) is one word. GehenSpielen. Lesen. Schnarchen. I can’t split the German infinitive because the infinitive is one word.

Well, technically I could it is called infixing. But we don’t have infixing in English which is fan-fucking-tastic.

O. SNAP!

When people often talk about the “death” of English it is either the so-called misuse of common words or people spelling things strangely, often more phonetically. Neither of those is hugely indicative of the health of our language. Vocab is to a language what wall paper is to a house.  Replacing words only yields an encryption, not a new language, unless enough people replace all the same words the same way… and then you get a dialect. Unless those people have an army, then you have a language.

Languages are deep. They have winding, unique histories and they are forever changing. Vocab is the easiest to change because the spoken-word is so very prevalent. Languages are primarily spoken, thought, shared. Even writing like this is more of a conversation, it is more spoken than written – because I don’t edit it, I don’t follow stupid conventions, I literally literally write as I think and that yields a very natural flow of the language rather than some APA approved bullshit.

Vocab changes all the time, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes dramatically, sometimes it makes sense. “Knight” and “Knave” share the same etymological root, but are in many ways opposites. “Faggot” and “Fascist” are similarly linked (they both come from “a bundle of sticks”). “Boy” meant “servant” and “girl” meant “child” regardless of gender. “Hot” can mean temperature hot, it can also mean “sexually attractive”. German has an example of the opposite, geil means “horny” but young people often say it to mean “cool”.

The word “fuck” comes from the Proto-Indo-European word that meant “to strike”. The Latin word for “fist” pugnus shares that root as well. The word “poke” does too, (probably).

So that basically comes to the crux of my problem. Pedants never seem to want to turn back the clock farther than when they were in High School. There is no pedant on the internet seriously arguing that English was best in 988 or that we should really be speaking Proto-Indo-European because that was when language was “best”.

None of them argue to bring back grammatical gender to English, which English had two (Masculine and Neuter).

None of them argue to bring back all of our missing cases. We all know the subject, the direct object… the indirect object. What about the instrumentitive case (which was already dying by the times the Normans showed up)? The genitive? What if I told you that English completely lacks declination. Do we want to bring back fucking declination? Or more complicated conjugation?

No.

No one in their right fucking minds wants to bring back any of that. Because it is complicated and insane.

What English needs, what English has direly called out for these last two centuries has been spelling reform. Our spelling is no longer phonetic. Sure it isn’t as bad as Irish, but our language is hanging onto spelling rules and functions from the 1300s and 1400s because of pedants who cling to the glorious past (and realists who don’t want to replace a billion street signs). All those extra Es on shit? All those extra letters were probably pronounced – because we had no formal spelling rules (remember dictionaries are a modern invention) so people wrote words like they sounded.

Shakespeare wasn’t adding that “e” on the back of his name out of boredom. It was probably literally literally pronounced “Shaykes-peereh”.

So you want to know what? I don’t fucking care that teenagers misspell words. Let them. Maybe they’ll be open to the idea of finally instituting an English spelling reform.

So the next time you see someone chatting in slang or simplifying the spelling of words remember it is they, not you, who is ensuring that English reaches the next generation of users. And hopefully the find it stronger and more useful than ever.

The English language has died and it was killed by pedants.

Long live the English Language.

Only in Defeat

Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?
That is the only time a man can be brave.

-Game of Thrones

How can you be supporters when your team loses?
It’s only when our team loses that we can truly be supporters.

Losing hurts.

Always has, always will. If defeat doesn’t sting then did you really lose? If losing what you were fighting for doesn’t hurt did you really care? Do you really need it? Why did you fight at all?

Detroit City fell to the Bucks three to nil. Three. to. nil.

Saying it hurts.

It hurts to lose.

You might be able to tell from the pictures in the papers, but what I am saying is true. Detroit City lost to the Bucks. But what of it? We lost. Fuck the Bucks, we have a game to think about on Friday. We move on. When the team came over we embraced them (often literally). We chanted and waved flags. There was a party in Detroit and no one slept that night.

But it hurts. We bury that pain deep down, we look to better days, we move on. But it throbs at the base of our necks and until the next victory there will be nothing to cure it.

However, even in defeat there is victory.

The real battle is in the stands. Every article on the event can be summed up like this:

Dan Duggan’s Michigan Bucks beat Detroit City FC 3 – 0. They played nice soccer. But you can’t tell from our gallery of images because the Northern Guard show up, made themselves at home, and then chanted like madmen for 90 minutes plus stoppage. They were so awesome that even Bucks fans left DCFC fans. Kids loved them, parents wanted to be with them, and in the end that’s all that mattered. Because DCFC lost the battle but is winning the war.

Give or take 500 words.

We won because the battle wasn’t just on the field. It was off it as well. It was in front offices, in the stands, and in the minds of those there. When the Bucks show up with no sponsors and we have Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers; when Ultimate is decked out in Sam’s Hardware and Nobody Bank and we have Henry Ford Health System and Flagstar Bank. We have an official beer, an official bank, outreach programs, charities, and presence. The Buck’s have… well… they have a lot of silverware.

And let’s be honest – the Buck’s have a long, storied history… that no one cares about. What’s a history if no one reads it? Nothing. It is a book collecting dust on a shelf. Twenty years of obscurity and the best you can do is go on about how you never really meant for it to be a fan experience?

Yeah. Whatever.

Detroit City FC can walk out head held up high. We lost. So what? It hurts, but we’ll move on. We’ll remember this if we meet again. And in the end, the battle on the pitch was a small slice of a bigger battle. A battle of culture.

So fuck it.

Fuck you Daniel Duggan. Fuck you and your shitty fucking team and your shitty fucking pricing plan. Yeah. Don’t act like we wouldn’t fucking notice you dropped the price of tickets once DCFC wasn’t involved you two-faced price-swapping twat.

Go fuck yourself.

Fuckyouzard

Relegation

We talk promotion and relegation a lot on this site. A long time ago I said that most Americans probably support pro/rel because they want their team in the MLS and nothing else – they don’t actually support the system, just their team – which is 100% fine, just be honest about it.

Pro/rel seems like a really good idea when you are at the bottom, when all you have is “up”.

What’s it like when it seems like everything is spiraling downward?

Well let me tell you.

My name is Nick Kendall and I am a magpie.

10714153_10152571988138576_141213337241986443_o 998345_10152926187905324_1815074583_n 334536_10150502576608576_816120563_o 20141122_120529 copy

 

I love Newcastle United. I have irrationally clung to this team since I picked them nearly at random freshmen year of college to fit in with the other EPL fans. Why? ‘Cuz beer. Because they have the same black/white get up as Kendal Town. Because they felt like the kind of team I wanted to root for – not big, not fancy, not filled to the brim with over-paid twats. Hometown heroes, beloved by a passionate and dedicated group of fans.

All these years later, I will never stop rooting for Newcastle. But rooting for Newcastle can be hard. It seems like every season is a challenge but somehow we nearly always pull out of the stall.

This year?

This season?

None of us are sure. None of us are sure what is happening as we lose game after game after game. As the interim coach makes every mistake in the book. As the players revolt, as the fans let out a sigh of desperation. As boycotts go underway. As the owner is investigated by the government. As everyone points fingers at everyone else.

A trip to /r/nufc is a sad one.

You can hear it through voiceless text.

Defeat. Pain. Agony. Eventually it becomes subdued, emotionless, surrendered.

Relegation is hard.

I’ve already dealt with relegation once as a fan. It isn’t any easier the second time. It really shakes you to your core.

Americans who bang on and on and on about pro/rel probably haven’t dealt with it like this. Haven’t seen a decent team that can be dangerous when in form, fail so spectacularly, so unprecedentedly, and so completely.

I know there are fans of yo-yo teams out there who deal with it every alternative year. I’m sure it sucks. I’m sure getting into top-tier is pretty awesome too.

Newcastle isn’t supposed to be in this fight.

We’re supposed to skate by in 11th place like always, comfortably above this fight and comfortably below the “good teams”.

The hardest part, when a team fails like this, is what do you do? We have three games left, they are all critically important to the club, but if we win all three does that mean the idiot man-child Carver stays? That we are potentially stuck with him for a whole season or more? If we lose and get relegated, can we still get a decent replacement? Will we be considered so poisonous no “real” coach will consider us? What about Mike Ashley our ass-hat owner?

In my book the best scenario is win two. As long as we stay above. We need to win and stay alive, but we need to lose in the end to make sure the season ends on a sour note. We need to get rid of Carver. We know the rot is deep. The real problem is Mike Ashley who has time and time made sure that we the fans know that he doesn’t care about winning – only making money.

The club is literally in his debt and not in a mushy emotional way. Literally. We owe him wads and wads of cash because he’s essentially schemed that even if forced to sell the club is still stuck in his shadow. The Ashley years will go down as disastrous to the club both internationally and domestically.

Mediocrity has become our lot and going so far as to ask for a decent team gets met with a bunch of ManU/Chelsea/Liverpool/ManCity/Arsenal fans putting us back into our “place.” The same twats who constantly bemoan finishing fourth, falling 3-2 in the cup final, getting a single yellow card, or – gods forbid – even losing a game.

Yeah, we’re the one with unrealistic demands.

Is it so much to ask that our team be decent? That it be watchable? That whenever I answer the question “What team do you root for?” I don’t have to preface it with a sigh and a look of indignation?

Is it so much to ask that players not be sold simply for Ashley’s bottom line? That we allow talent to blossom? That we actually hire a manager and not a fucking “head coach”?

That for one, single, solitary, fucking, season I watch my team with a small slice of dignity while we sit comfortably at 9th.

9th.

That’s all this magpie asks. Is that too much?

Unless we get relegated, then it better be fucking 1st.

 

 

A Cup, A City, and a Deer

May 13th is going to be a strange day, it’ll be strange because for ninety minutes the world will revolve around three things: a cup, a city, and a deer.

Sure the lingering issues of the modern world will continue to linger long after the echos die down and two radically different clubs go their separate ways – but for ninety minutes there will be a microcosm in a little tin can in the northern suburbs of Detroit when le Rouge take on the Bucks in the first round of the Lamar Hunt United States Open Cup, the oldest national soccer competition in the United States and the third oldest in the world.

So let us begin our meandering tale there: what the fuck is the US Open Cup?

The fact that you don’t know what the oldest soccer competition in the United States is doesn’t surprise me in the least. Which is sad. The Open Cup is a knock-out tournament that involves all levels of soccer in the United States starting with semi-professional and adult leagues and working its way, slowly, to the MLS. At first it only involves the low-tier teams, fighting and weeding each other out. Each round another group of teams is added. First USL, then NASL, then finally the big guns walk in, the MLS teams join and then, almost inevitably, come to dominate the competition.

That’s okay, because it is a test. There are prizes for the teams that can stand the test, go the furthest in the face of million dollar players from England. Stand up and just maybe, earn a small piece of soccer history.

The US Open Cup is a special thing, though today it is dragged through the dirt and sand and treated like an unkempt dog. Left to wallow in a corner on the edge of the farmer’s property, eclipsed by his new pure-breed.

See, most other countries don’t have championships like us where half the teams “qualify” and go into a knock-out stage. They have “cups” and most countries have a handful. The season is just a season of normal games. When it ends whoever is on top wins. Cool, no problem – that rewards consistency rather than one lucky goal.

But we like luck, and we like those crazy moments when a rag-tag group of amateurs best a behemoth. That’s what cups are for. Off the top of my head in England the two main-ish trophies are the FA Trophy and the FA Cup. The FA Cup is like the Open Cup – it is for everyone. The FA Trophy, however, ignores the upper tiers in favor of putting the smaller teams against each other. (Thanks to FC Fargo Green Army on twitter for the correction.)

Everyone has a shot.

Yes, it is “unfair” to put a team like Detroit City potentially up against teams like the Seattle Sounders – but that’s the fun. It’s fun to get that chance. It’s fun to see how far your team can go. We’re not expecting Detroit City to win the Open Cup, we want to see how far we can go and what we can prove about soccer, fandom, and Detroit along the way.

That is the magic of the Open Cup – and the USSF squanders it in favor of the MLS Championship. Let’s not beat around the bush, these days it is pretty clear that the line between the USSF and the MLS is very, very blurry. The USSF is supposed to be a neutral party that governs soccer in the United States, including the MLS. But in recent months it seems more likely that the MLS is probably calling more than its fair share of shots – but this is a rant for another day.

The walk away should be that the Open Cup is a knock-out tournie with a ton of history and you should do everything in your power to catch as many games as you can. If you consider yourself a fan of a team or a fan of the sport in general – this is a serious part of our heritage and it deserves fucking better than announcements coming three hours late and from teams rather than the organization.

If I could I’d plea to the USSF to not continue to waste the Open Cup’s potential in favor of a single-league’s stupid knock-out championship. They are very different scenarios and both can co-exist.

Please, stop fucking up the Open Cup.

So that’s the cup. Who are the city and the deer?

Detroit City Football Club (pulling out full names here) and the Michigan Bucks are a strange pair. They’ve never played a game against each other and yet the air between them is already hot, filled with anger and hate – and yes a little jealousy from a certain Dan Duggan.

The Bucks are Dan Duggan’s baby – a PDL side with a long history of crowning achievements brought low by their crushing insignificance. In 2000 the Bucks became the first PDL side to defeat an MLS side – beating the New England Revolution. A feat that they repeated by defeating the Chicago Fire in 2012 only to fall to the Dayton Dutch Lions the next round. How, if that is the case, has no one heard of the Bucks before?

Well, that goes into the gaping maw that divides Detroit City from its older cousin.

The Bucks are an “old-fashioned” team based in nearly ancient 90s mentalities of Disney’d logos and “family friendly” soccer experiences. A stifled, oppressive, and timid atmosphere is all you get in the Buck’s indoor tin can of a field. Fans queue in the tens to buy nachos and sit quietly with their families to watch talented players attempt to impress scouts and then move on, leaving little to no mark on the club or its history.

They are, in short, a prestigious toy for its owner – Dan Duggan, brother to Detroit mayor Mike Duggan. Like a 60-something fawning over a model railway set in the basement, Duggan fawns over his little team and his “control” of the soccering experience in Detroit, something he monopolized from 1995 to 2012, when Detroit City and the Northern Guard finally pushed his team completely out of the minds of Detroiters.

Detroit City came onto the scene like a brick through a window, quickly gathering the latent soccer fans across Southeast Michigan and beyond. We flocked to a team decked in the blood and treasure, enjoyed every sulfurous second of that season, with out banners in the wind and our souls riding high.

Then 2013 came around and we did it again – bigger and better.

Then 2014 came and we grew some more. We got loud, we got noticed. And Duggan’s Buck’s continued to play beautifully but unwatched.

Now comes 2015. Detroit City was a dark house contender for the Open Cup, only slipping in at the last second because another team turned down their spot. From the second it was announced one word fluttered on the lips of anxious Guardsmen everywhere: Bucks.

Fuck the Bucks.

Buck the Fucks.

A smoldering hate that goes from the fans right up to the front offices began to glow and smoke under the gentle blow of a cold spring wind.

Both sides wanted it.

And we got it.

On April 8th, after hours of quiet, the Bucks announced they’d be hosting Detroit City FC in the first round of the Lamar Hunt United States Open Cup.

So here it is.

The club Michigan forgot v The club Michigan can never forget

Old School v New School

No Focus v Culture Focus

Theory v Practice

The rich man’s toy v The working man’s club

Who will prevail?

Fucking Bertha

(Photo – Dion De Gennaro)

Plus Ultra – A Day in the Life of and a Defense of the Ultra in America

We woke up early today.

Around seven.

After some bitching and moaning and wistful looks at the clock hoping we had been lied to, we dragged ourselves out of bed. First me, then Brigid but only after I had sicced the cat on her.

I fed the cat, we dug out blankets and flags and kilts and extra layers to stay warm in the 30-ish degree weather on a cloudy Detroit morning. We filled the car, piled in, got out to grab a forgotten phone, then headed to the gas station. Brigid grabbed donuts, I grabbed cash from an ATM then stopped to fill up the car.

Then, around 8:00, we hit 96 East into Detroit – following a path we both knew well past Motor City Casino and Cass Tech into Corktown, which proudly calls itself the “Oldest Neighborhood in Detroit.”

It was about a quarter ’til 9:00 when we finally pulled into the parking lot behind the local IBEW headquarters. It would be a little longer before the coffee and liquor would start flowing. Until then we had donuts and Mama Cass’ homemade breakfast puffs (16,000 calories guaranteed) to tide us over.

It would be many hours before any real reason to be there made itself known as we drunkenly and hoarsely made our way to the parade line.

None of this should come off as particularly exciting, nor is it meant to. The life of an Ultra is the life of many: a terrible job, good friends, one thing on the weekend that keeps you going. The poker player might think about cards, the musician about the next track, the gamer about the next level, the Ultra thinks about the next game. The next stick of smoke. The next tifo or the next two-stick.

What drags a man out of a warm bed at seven in the morning on a cold, cloudy Sunday in Detroit, Michigan?

Friends? Aye.

Family? Aye.

Booze? Aye.

Sports? Aye.

A chance to let loose? Aye.

What about all of those? What if friends, family, booze, sports, and a chance to tap into that primal part of your brain all came in one shot?

That’s why an Ultra gets up.

That’s why an Ultra paints tifos.

That’s why an Ultra gets tattoos, and buys banners, and stands for ninety minutes, and screams and sings until all wind has left their body.

Then they go home and dream sulfury dreams of when they get to do it all over again. It never ends, the cycle of working on the next game and living the previous. Before they know it the season is over and it is all pining for the next time they can get into the stands and do it all over again.

Before we go much further, I’m going to cover my tracks and say “yes, this article will inevitably offend some people.” My last Fans v Supporters v Ultras page constantly either gets rave reviews or people trying to piss on it because they are a special flower that doesn’t… blah blah blah.

Got it.

We’re all human. Definitions don’t fit people well because we can constantly redefine what makes us who we are. So take this all with a grain of salt. Think of this as representing that 70 to 80% of people who are encapsulated by a definition and therefore is painted with broad strokes.

In the end, don’t get offended because this is a blag written by a nobody. Or, actually, get offended. Give me more traffic.

I’ve always thought that the motto of the Ultra should be Plus Ultra, Latin for “further beyond.” That’s what an Ultra is – more and beyond. Whatever is “normal” for a fan should be too little for an Ultra. And I’m not knocking average supporters or fans. Trust me, the crazier they get the better. But an Ultra should be further beyond. They should be further beyond paper signs and crayons. They should be further beyond “the wave”. They should be further beyond shouting “de-fense clap clap de-fense clap clap“.

But the word “Ultras” comes with baggage. And it comes with detractors, especially here in the United States. It is important for the budding Ultra to know when to stand their ground and when to understand the fears and apprehensions of the average supporter. When the Ultra is willing to stand their ground, but make their message known, the state of supporter culture in the United States will improve. When the average fan understands that their Ultras are there for them, there for the team, there to make a great game something that goes into the history books.

But too often I feel supporters and Ultras are at odds and it is important to make sure everyone on a side marches to the same drum, even if some people march a little slower.

First, and this is a big one for us Ultras. Being an Ultra carries baggage in the United States. Baggage of hooliganism, baggage of discrimination, racism, and other isms that we might have anything to do with. There are going to be Ultras that we disagree with. Whether we disagree on which team we root for (the minimum, I guess), whether it is okay to light flares off in the stadium, or as far as the bigger issues like if it is okay that blacks and whites support together or if beating up opposing fans is okay.

When we try to shove the dirty, unwelcome, truth to the side we don’t seem above it, we seem blind to it. It is important to tackle those issues head on. Make bold statements. Don’t just say “well, we wrote some rules down and it is up to the different groups to enforce that.”

No.

No, that is not okay.

If you have Ultras pushing people out of a subway train for their race, kick them out. If you have Ultras molesting women, kick them out. If you have Ultras starting fights, kick them out. Make it known that on no terms is violence, homophobia, racism, or sexism acceptable. Stamp it out.

Ultras can make a political point, but the best political points to be made are those of acceptance of our players and our fellow fans.

But when someone says “Well, I saw some Ultras in Randopia and they were being racists” the right answer isn’t some mumbling and then a “no true Scotsman” bullshit. The right answer is, “Yeah –  that happens, and they are cunts. But here in America we can be above that. Our Ultras work hard to remove and find ways to deal with the problem safely and quickly.”

And the key word is “can” it is also “should.” In America we don’t have 150 years of history in our teams, which can be a bit humiliating. But it also means that racism and divisive politics are not okay. We can’t sit and hide behind “well, we’ve been racist for 150 years so give us a break” (as if that is any fucking excuse). We have a chance to elevate the throne of Ultra further beyond bullshit petty politics into a powerful force for bettering our communities and everyone’s enjoyment of sports.

But I also want to respond to some criticisms and concerns that I’ve heard from self-proclaimed “non-Ultras”.


I have a disability or issue that prevents me from doing X, Y, or Z and ergo cannot be an Ultra.

This is bullshit, if you care so much that you are digging up legitimate excuses to why you cannot Ultra, you are probably an Ultra. I think of it this way: Ultras are there for their fellow Ultras. Ultras know their own like family. Family understands and doesn’t need or even ask for excuses for why you miss activities or perhaps don’t partake in others.

You’re a devout Christian? You don’t drink? A fellow Ultra knows that. They don’t care.

You’re recovering from surgery and can’t dance? A fellow Ultra knows that. They don’t care.

You have a disease that forces you out of the stands to a place where getting in and out is more convenient? Your family doesn’t care. The only people who care aren’t worth being called your family.


I sat in the Ultras’ section and was bothered a lot because I didn’t dance/sing/complained about smoke.

This is a two-way misunderstanding and both sides have very legitimate reasons to complain. So I’m going to try to tackle the obviously side (the non-Ultra) quickly and then move into the Ultra’s perspective of the issue.

Smoke/dancing/singing are not normal in the United States. It is not surprising when someone gets tickets at the last minute and ends up in the Ultra section without understanding what that means. It is up to front offices and ticket vendors to make sure that customers are aware of what is involved in getting a ticket to the supporters’ section.

Supporters’ sections might be standing-only and might be cheaper on a seat map, that can be attractive to someone just looking for a quick thing to do. If someone doesn’t want to sing or dance, leave them alone.

BUT. Big but (-s and I cannot lie) here. Ultras are in the right for being pissed. Remember there is one section in the entire stadium where we can sing and dance and light off smoke for 90 minutes a game. One section. That’s it. Pull out a flag in the main stands, say good-bye to three nights of hard work. Light off a smoke bomb in the nose bleeds? Say hello to a domestic terrorism charge.

We get that one little area and when we see people sitting on their phones no singing and dancing we don’t see a stick in the mud (even though you are one) we see one Ultra over in the family friendly section NOT having a good time.

You can sit quietly anywhere, we can only party in this one section. Please be understanding when we want you to make the most out of it.


The flags, smoke, and singing detract from the game. You should be there to watch the game.

Okay? We do watch the game. When we do specific chants for corners, cards, tackles, players, and scores that isn’t because of a really good streak of random chance. We know to do those things because we watch the game.

Obviously you aren’t because you’re watching us having way more fun than you.

This is going to become even more subjective than the rest of this already is – but we don’t think what we do detracts from the game. We think sitting around politely clapping detracts from the game. Ultras work with front offices as much as we can to come to mutually beneficial agreements on where we can set up shop, what is and isn’t acceptable, and for the most part it works out really well.

Notice on any major team’s website the shots of the crowd rarely are of the people sitting down talking about the weekend with their spouse while their kids are mildly entertained by the game.

Ultras provide a lot of atmosphere to the crowd and we are very much helped by the legions of supporters who do everything they can to help disseminate this out into the other parts of the stadium. The smoke and the noise contributes to the home field advantage. It gives our team a boost and the other team a weight to carry. Any player will tell you that they love coming onto a field with Ultras – people singing their heart and soul out for ninety minutes. It gives them someone to work for, someone to impress, and in return Ultras give them love and respect. We put them on two-sticks, sing chants about them, and are the first to defend them when the refs won’t.


I don’t like that Ultras are “ultra” and I’m “just” a fan. Why am I expected to contribute?

You aren’t expected to contribute, but you need to understand that that’s why an Ultra is “ultra” and you’re just a fan. We are all on the same side, we all want to see our team win, and we both probably want to see it just as badly. But an Ultra goes further beyond. For us it isn’t enough to just show up, we want to make sure our support is heard and felt throughout the stadium.

It is okay that you don’t want to participate to that level and I’m sure the front office appreciates you coming in.

But this idea that your presence is equal to our weeks of hard work and planning is bullshit. And we’ll tell you it’s bullshit. What made you think this wasn’t the case? Since when was just showing up to the test the same as acing it?


I don’t like being defined by other people.

Okay, this is another perfectly acceptable reaction. Not everyone enjoys every label that is applied to them, especially when they aren’t choosing to have that labeled applied to them.

Please trust me when I say I understand and that I can commiserate with you on this.

But it is important that people are labeling you every second of everyday. Humans like to do that, it is just sort of an innate part of who and what we are as social, tribal animals.

I’m not labeling you as an Ultra out of anything other than togetherness. I define myself as an Ultra so please don’t be offended if I define you as an Ultra. If I don’t define you as an Ultra and you want to be defined as an Ultra, that’s okay too. I’m not a sole expert on Ultra-ness.


Some other group uses “Ultras” in their name and we…

Shut up. Just. Shut up.

Who fucking cares? Really? An I suppose if there was a rival group called “The Fans of Windy City” you’d be shitting all over yourself to not be called a fan?

Words mean things and we are all free to use them. If a group uses a word that has is relevant to what they are talking about, then they get to use it. But so can you. Because words are not a limited resource. (Looks at current word count – trust me, I know).


Obviously there is  much to the life of an Ultra, just as there is much to the life of anyone willing to take themselves further beyond what any sane or normal person would do.

I cannot cover every fractal fold of what makes any two groups or even individuals similar and dissimilar. I have neither the time nor the patience to do it.

So I hope this has been an interesting and enlightening read for you, as there will be plenty more soccer to come in the future. But there is where I’ll end for today.

Sláinte, bitches.

Guest Post – How the Current American Soccer System COULD Implement Promotion and Relegation by Kirk

How the Current American Soccer System COULD Implement Promotion and Relegation

If you’re an American and a fan of soccer, you probably know that soccer leagues in other countries have something that is hard to imagine ever coming into existence within any US sports league: a system of promotion and relegation that rewards the nation’s best Division 2 teams and punishes the worst Division 1 teams. Instead, we have a system that rewards the worst teams in Division 1 with the top choice of the best college athletes.

Major League Soccer (MLS) operates in a similar fashion. It’s essentially the same in that the worst teams in MLS get the best picks in the SuperDraft, but different in that some college players are already spoken for if they once spent time playing for an MLS team’s development academy. A fusion of traditional American sports systems and the soccer development systems of other nations.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might think that I dislike MLS, and for the most part that is incorrect. I like what the league has done to make American soccer what it is today. It’s been a home and/or launching point for many US Men’s National Team players and has potentially inspired many future American soccer players. Aside from that, I’m unsatisfied with the system that MLS operates in. One that isolates itself from other leagues and from any real competition, because MLS isn’t a league that coordinates competition for independently-owned clubs. It’s a corporation with 20 different franchises. Franchises that compete against each other for a trophy and bragging rights, but without any real winners or losers.

However, I’m a finance person and I understand that MLS ownership groups have made significant investments. Investments that I assume have projected costs and revenues over the course of many, many years that will at some point justify the tens-of-millions of dollars that have been paid out. In my mind, it would be wrong to significantly change the model of that investment, UNLESS the investors wanted it to change. But how could we make that happen?

Much like the aforementioned MLS SuperDraft, my proposal for US promotion and relegation is a fusion of American and foreign systems. What I propose is that the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) allow the North American Soccer League (NASL) to stop operating as a Division 2 league and start operating as a Division 1.5 league. A league in limbo that operates a system of promotion and relegation within itself. A league that is allowed to field 12 teams within Division 1 and its remaining teams in Division 2 (which would now be USL) while maintaining its current free-market principles. This would all begin in the year 2020, when we’re told that MLS will have 24 teams, a claim I have no reason to doubt based on their current trajectory. Presumably, 12 MLS teams will play in the Western Conference and 12 in the Eastern Conference, and each of those sides, as part of a single-entity structure, would be exempt from relegation. The NASL would then field 6 Western and 6 Eastern clubs to complement the MLS teams, forming two 18-team conferences. Each team would play a 34-game season, a number consistent with the current MLS season length. Each team’s season would be comprised of a home and an away match against each opponent within their respective conference. This would end inter-conference games with the exception of pre-season and playoff matches.

I don’t view this plan as the perfect end game, but a step in the right direction. And there are plenty of specifics that the USSF, MLS and NASL would still need to negotiate. Would the NASL’s free market teams be subject to any kind of Financial Fair Play rules? Would NASL teams be playoff-eligible? How many NASL teams would be relegated each year? Would any teams be relegated if, by chance, an MLS team finished at the bottom of the table? But here are the questions I’d like to take a shot at answering:

What might it look like?

Kirk_Table

Why would the USSF want this?

Better exposure in more markets: More top tier teams means increased exposure of soccer to the public in more major US markets. For the Fall 2014 season, an average of 5,619 people showed up to NASL matches.  How will that number grow when Kaka and Orlando City show up to play Fort Lauderdale Strikers, or Frank Lampard and NYCFC show up to play New York Cosmos?

Better player development: Not only should increased exposure drive more kids wanting to be professional soccer players, having more more professional clubs incentivizes those teams to locate talent within their community at an early age.

Why would MLS owners want this?

Lower costs: As a supporter of a Division 4 team, one thing that is well known is that for an entire team of players, coaches and staff to travel to an opponent is expensive. Not just financially expensive, but taxing on the individuals. With the top tier split into two single-table conferences, those costs will be reduced.

Higher ticket sales: The other benefit of having your opponents closer on average is that your club will sell more tickets to “away day” support. Fans of San Antonio, Fort Lauderdale, Indy Eleven and Cosmos are certain to bring the stadiums of their MLS neighbors closer to a sell out.

Why would MLS want this?

Derbies!!!: If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that MLS and TV networks LOVE derbies. NYRB+NYCFC+Cosmos= Big Apple Derby. Orlando+Miami+FTL(+Tampa)=Florida Derby. San Antonio+Dallas+Houston=Lone Star Derby.  These things write themselves.

Same number of televise-able games:  Television rights contracts would still be between networks and leagues. And the teams within those leagues would have broadcast rights for their home games. As the number of MLS home games wouldn’t change, the number of MLS games that could be televised would be the same under the 24 and 36-team models.

“Softball” teams: Theoretically, in the first seasons, NASL teams would not perform at the same level as MLS teams. I personally don’t the feel this way, but many do. As such, MLS teams would likely see NASL teams as easy wins that will help them stay in playoff contention.

Legitimacy: It’s apparent that MLS wants to maintain a European veneer. We see this in the naming of teams that include “FC” or “Dynamo”, team crests that look like they belong in the Bundesliga, and the signings of EPL superstars like Henry, Lampard, and Gerrard. Operating in an environment that promotes and relegates teams should be a part of this, despite the fact that MLS itself will still have…

Security: Because although MLS would operate in a pro/rel environment, its teams and owners would be protected, as would their investments.

Why would NASL want this?

More televise-able games: It’s inevitable that this would result in more NASL clubs being on TV. Whether that’s the result of a separate TV agreement with the NASL or just ESPN wanting to show NYCFC host Cosmos, or Chicago Fire host Indy Eleven.

More clubs: It’s also inevitable that more clubs will want to join the NASL if there is an avenue to being promoted to Division 1. This could be the handful of USL clubs that aren’t wholly-owned by MLS franchises, are those that are willing to shed their MLS affiliation. But it could also be NPSL and other amateur teams that have the financial backing, the fanbase, and the drive to be something bigger.

 

This was a guest post from Kirk, a DCFC Ultra and an all-around swell guy. You can follow him on twitter: @Kirk_NGS.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

The Fuck is This?

What? The fuck? Is this?

Seriously. What the FUCK were the idiots running the Columbus Crew thinking? A women’s supporter scarf? They already have three fucking scarves now this fourth one… why? It’s a fucking supporter’s scarf! It doesn’t need fucking floral patterns and fucking bows to fucking appeal to women.

BECAUSE IT’S A FUCKING SUPPORTERS SCARF!

Woman are supporters, end of story. Perhaps I’m getting a little upset over nothing, but I never got the feeling that women felt outcast from soccer supporter-dom because we didn’t have enough pink shit with ribbons. I always got the feeling women avoided sports because we constantly subject them to cheerleaders and the social stigma that sports is a “men’s thing” and that they should just go back to the kitchen.

So why, in soccer of all things, would women need to be wooed with a disaster like this? Aren’t they there to support? Aren’t they there for the team? Aren’t they there because its fun?

I-

I just really don’t know what to think about this… but I’m going to just say this is the same mentality that leads to “pink” aisles and everything else that says women can have fun with the boys… so long as we constantly remind them and everyone around them that they are women and need different stuff.

Society – where it’s fourth grade forever.

Oíche mhaith, bastards.

Detroit City and a little Writer’s Postpartum Depression

This is probably going to be a bit more rambly than most posts on this site, but let’s go ahead and deal with it anyway. I have a few topics and I don’t think I can really make them stand-alone posts.

First – I’ve begun writing Book 2, which has already gone through a few working titles, but given that this is a total re-do we shall see what happens. Having previously written some 45,000-ish words in the previous version I already have a good sense of direction with this one. Hopefully I am not stuck too deep in the rails and I can move away from what I’ve got. Already two chapters have been condensed into what is now the prologue and the original prologue is actually the last chapter of Sun-King!

So yeah, that is off to a decent start but I had to say I’ve hit something I didn’t really expect – it really sucks to not be working on Sun-King anymore. Like really weird. Same characters, same settings, same general direction and it just feels like I am in some strange foreign land. If I had to guess I would assume I am suffering from the shock of having total control again. When editing and rewriting chunks of Sun-King I obviously had laid rail before and was generally following the plan if only soothing some corners out.

Now I have total control again and that is really “weird” to me. Maybe I just need a few days away from writing. Maybe I just need a few days back at the helm of creating rather than editing. Either way it was not something I expected and it has made today rather lethargic (among other things, not going there).

So that is where the postpartum comes into play. I really don’t like not working on it. Where is my baby? What is this blank sheet of a paper that I need to fill with brand new words? Fuck all this shit. Fuck it, I want to work on Sun-King some more.

But I can’t.

Or at least I shouldn’t. I need to move on. That is part of writing. Still. I miss it and I know in the back of my head another round of editing is still on the horizon.

O well. Moving on.

Soccer!

But Nick, the superbow-

Shut it.

Oh, so you’re watching the superb ow-

Shut it.

We’re talking soccer, because I care about soccer. I like gridrion. I care about soccer. It means stuff to me. Newcastle won. Celtic won. Kendal lost. And DCFC is moving forward.

Rumor has it that we are very close to running out of season ticket slots. It essentially implies we are on track to sell out every. single. game this summer. That is FUCKING AWESOME. If you disagree go fuck yourself. Little Detroit City, for whom I’ve had a place in my heart since day one.

received_10155245222385643

My friend Zak and I made those for our first game back in Season 1. I still have both and I just recently was talking with another fan and he mentioned a season 1 flag that was red with golden fleur de lis all over it. It was weird, strangely enough after the last few seasons, that this stood out. I’m really glad it did. It is a beautiful flag, it is too bad it isn’t mine (it is Zak’s even if I store it).

There is a lot going on. I can feel it. Then a few weeks the big news broke.

Check it out (25:30 in the cast).

The FO has been looking at moving up! This is great. I’m so glad to hear that and though I’m doing my damnedest to not get excited it is hard not to. Hard not to see it all paying off. Hard to not love what DCFC and the NGS have been able to put together from scratch. And from what I’ve heard Peter Wilt of the Indy Eleven is not a man who speaks lightly or rumormongers.

So fuck yes!

With tickets and the NASL in our sights, that leads to some speculation. Honestly my prediction is you won’t see DCFC on the field in the NASL until 2018 or 2020. We need a new stadium. We need major sponsors. We need major names. We need a lot of stuff, including potentially new owners who have the cash. That means a lot of growing pains and a lot of issues that might follow. The NGS might look good on paper but when so many FOs would rather have Sally DoGood and her three cum-sprites in the stands paying $10 for a hotdog with mustard each and Richy DoGood paying $12 for a can of Miller Lite; the NGS (and I’m going to quote Hot Time in Old Town):

THE NORTHERN GUARD IS WHERE FAMILY-FRIENDLY ENTERTAINMENT WENT SLUMMING AND GOT STOMPED BIKER-STYLE INTO INTENSIVE CARE

When one of your loudest mottos is “We’re ruining football and we don’t care” you aren’t a great target for rich, white suburbanites. Or at least that is what people thought until we sold out twice and nearly sold the entire allotment of season tickets three months before kick off.

The Northern Guard has a duty to stand between squatters and the club and ensure that despite ruining football, we don’t ruin DCFC as well. I don’t think that is really at risk. I can’t say with a straight face that DCFC is “less” because of the NGS. Less family friendly? Yes. Less TV friendly? Yes. But less? Less as a whole? Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

Tomorrow the season schedule should be out. There are some major mix-ups apparently. Then, Wednesday, we go to see Victory and grill the ownership at the Q&A. That will be mind-opening to say the least. Finally, Friday night, Midnight Madness as the NGS invades the try-outs.

This is a great week to be a DCFC fan.

Oíche mhaith, bitches.

Why I Write

I’m not an author, but I am a writer and I’m going to talk about a pretty common topic/question that writers get so don’t expect anything ground-breaking here.

Anyone with a passion has at some point been asked “why.” Why do you write? Why do you paint? Why do you fix cars? Why do you go to work each day? Everyone has their own answers, something that drives them. It could be internal, external, a mix of both. A person might slave away at work for the family just as easily as an artist slaves away at a painting because of expectations.

There is a stereotype that sometimes people like me take cubical jobs for the stability and then everything is happy forever. Sure, the stability is a huge part of it, it is certainly nice to know that for 8 hours of work I’ll get 8 hours of pay. I got into a twitter fight with an “arteest” type who essentially told me all cubical jockeys were cunts who expected life on a silver platter.

Needless to say I no longer buy his stuff or go to his site at all.

But I digress. Engineering is a passion of mine and luckily one in high enough demand that I can use it to fund my more creative endeavors like writing and going to sports games in an increasing number of scarves. I’m lucky that I can enjoy going to work long enough to not go crazy. Not everyone is lucky like that.

Every economy has two sides: creator and consumer. If you are an artist and all you do is mock and bash middle America, your consumers, you’re pretty much a cunt. There is more to life than a pay cheque and day-in and day-out the grind gets boring. We look to artists to provide. I’m fairly confident that most people like me are more than happy to pay for escapism. Yet I constantly see creators complaining that we want it free, or treat them poorly. Maybe I surround myself with decent people but I rarely hear engineers talking about how artists don’t deserve to get paid. I rarely hear CAD designers talking about stealing music.

I do hear it from a lot of people who’d rather not resort to it. People who illegally download the CDs to afford the concert ticket. I won’t defend their actions, but I rarely see people download something because “Fuck the artist, man!”

And it is just that, people who spend five days a week in a cube often are the people who need and want escapism the most. Are the most willing to pay for that hour or two in bed next to a loved one reading a book or listening to Starbomb’s newest album.

My writing comes from a different sort of escapism. It was an escapism of school, of bullies, of social insecurity. It was also an escapism from what teachers wanted me to read. Dull, dry books that were better for putting young boys to sleep than engaging them with the arts.

Too often I was told I should read literature instead of genre so I chose to hate literature and create genre. I wanted to write stories about knights and dragons, about hidden languages and magic, about nations at war and getting the girl.

My writing filled a hole left by the constant demand of school to read things deemed “important” or “significant.”

Things deemed “important” and “significant” rarely contain dragons.

Just saying.

My first book is lost, it was last seen on a 3.5″ floppy. My next one was probably right beside it. Everything after that is saved. I have it on this computer I am typing on right now. That includes

  • An insane Harry Potter knock off if instead of magic it was ROTC on crack
  • A nihilistic sci-fi take on World War I set in space
  • A Forest Gump-esque take on vampire novels
  • Several dystopian war novels
  • A rehash of the nihilistic WWI novel set in a PMC operating inside western China
  • Several hundred ideas for a series of slap-stick short stories involving “Percival Mellowfeather” a joke shared among a group of friends
  • Project XIII – my successful attempt at NaNoWriMo in 2012
  • Project XIV – my unsuccessful attempt to turn PXIII into a real novel
  • Noortland

Noortland was something strange. Probably my first foray into “Dark Fantasy,” a place I am still firmly rooted. It is based off a particularly thrilling game of Civilization III I had back in highschool. It involved Lammert, a ranger; Alexandrine, a vampire rogue; Antonius, a wolfman; and their quest to overthrow the vampire King Constantine on behalf of his brother, Valentine – Alexandrine’s father.

To be fair, it was kind of shit.

To be honest it was total shite on a stick.

That’s where we come to Project XV, which has the working title “Sun-King” (and it is still a working title).

Sun-King is, in so many ways, is Noortland given new life. The maps are similar-ish, the settings are similar-ish, the characters are similar-ish.

Project XIII struck a chord with me, I knew that I wanted to write in a darker tone, I wanted to write from the perspective of characters that were not all good but not all evil. Like Noortland Project XIII was heavily based on an experience from a video game: namely that evil characters in a rail-roaded video game are still inherently treated as good. In my own case, my back-stabbing rogue who was an embodiment of the Void (death) was still treated as the great hero so long as I kept killing dragons.

I was infinitely amused at character’s willingness to trust me in story missions but on the flip side, essentially had to play two characters – my character outside of missions, killing and plundering all the way; and this second character, honest and trustworthy inside the story. So Project XIII was about two characters stuck in one body, one wholly good and the other wholly evil. Plus it involved Ice Elves, which I think are decently rare.

That was fun.

Project XIV… I don’t really remember anything from project XIV.

So in 2013, when I got laid off, I took a chance to start writing again. Having recently quit writing my serial, Baltikja, on the Paradox fora I had some free time and a willingness to write. A passion and a drive.

I wanted, I guess still want, to finish this.

From August 2013 to June 2014 I wrote Drafts 1 and 1.5. Draft 3 was written from December 2014 to January 2015. I documented some of that process here making sure to stop in just about every single day.

Project XV is Noortland re-imagined, re-invigorated, and the proportions blown up. It is written from my perspective, seen through my lenses and informed by who I am. All the characters are slices of myself or people I know. The interact with each other, with their world, and more importantly with me.

Because I don’t write for you, dear reader, I write for me. I write for years lost to reading trite that I  despised. Years spent reading pseudo-intellectual new-age bullshit for the appeasement of high school teachers rather than my own curiosity. Years spent away from fantasy and genre and buried to my neck in things I didn’t enjoy.

So my apologies to Mr. Albrecht, if he is even reading, I liked your class. I liked working with you in theater.

But holy shit, to my English/Reading teachers in High School – fuck you and the horses you road in on.

Fuckyouzard

I write, primarily, then to make up for lost time. So it is no surprise then that Sun-King involves Einar, the ranger; Rozenn, the immortal knight; Pallas, a wolfman from the highlands; and newcomer Gwennerch, a witch from a far-off land. It is no surprise that A work of my youth is finally so close to life. So close to publication that the younger me is starting to emerge again.

I have found new first readers. I hope that within a month I can begin the last bit of editing before I send the draft off to copy editing and then, maybe, start the hunt for an agent or finish putting it together for self publication.

Who knows?

I certainly don’t.

I just write for the fun of it all.