I replaced the ROWDIES license plate on my truck today with a generic plate. It made me sad to take the old plate off. I used to enjoy being a fan so much, but the new owner ruined that experience for me. I never liked sports very much before I started following the Rowdies, But soccer felt different. It was exciting, it was fast-paced, it was fun to watch. It seemed like there was a better ratio of nerd:meathead than other sports. It was fun to sing with the supporter group. It was fun to cheer and make noise. I loved running into people at the tailgate, I loved going to Crowley’s after the game.

Little by little, it all vanished. I left the supporter group because of the pervasive sexism and the attitude on the part of the leadership at the time that something was wrong with me for objecting to it and trying to do something about it. The games became excruciating to watch when the current coach took over. Crowley’s closed down. Although that was unrelated to the team, the fact that I was introduced to the place because of soccer meant that the two were intertwined in my mind.

Watching soccer on television isn’t the same. I don’t get the same charge that I used to get being in a big crowd. Honestly, what I really liked was not the game itself, but the socializing. The regular party atmosphere. I think if you could tailgate before a play, I’d get season tickets to the theater.