Here’s the thing. I will be honest. I am very conflicted on this topic and I may not make a lot of sense. However, it is something that has been burning on my mind and I feel that it needs to be discussed. So, with that fair warning, here we go.
Last weekend, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers clashed in a match that ended in a 2-2 draw. The game itself had many possible juicy storylines – the lost opportunity to beat Portland, the mathematically possible but realistically dead chances of the Whitecaps clinching a playoff berth and, of course, the memorable goals of a tiny and magical Brazilian forward by the name of Camilo.
So, there is plenty to talk about. However, I decided to touch on this subject because it really irritated me. In case you didn’t know, or have the opportunity to see, after scoring the 2-1 that briefly put Portland back in the lead, the Timbers captain, Will Johnson raced to the sideline celebrating while lifting his index finger to his lips to shush the crowd. Now, to put it plainly, it really pissed me off. Maybe it was the tipping point of a frustrating season, maybe it was the disappointment of just having scored the goal that squared things off and finding my team behind again, maybe it was because he was running right in front of me so I felt he was telling ME to shut up. It was probably a combination of them all.
Before I go on, I would like to point out that I am a Mexican. Sportsmanship is, at times, not my best quality. Like many other foreigners living in this beautiful city, I have the contrast that, where I grew up, football matches can be serious and scary affairs. So I don’t get scared easily and I have certainly learned not to take the things that happen or are heard, seen, or said in a soccer stadium personally or too seriously.
I am even for players shushing crowds under the right circumstances. I have seen players getting the stick from the crowd every time they get the ball. Every touch of the ball is accompanied by whistling, booing, and unflattering remarks about family members. In those cases, by all means, score the go ahead goal and go and shush the crowd in their faces. You deserve it. You have earned it.
This, however, was not the case with Mr. Johnson. I found his little antic arrogant, pedantic, unnecessary and uncalled for. The Vancouver crowd was not giving him abusive treatment. It doesn’t help create a good atmosphere and, in a way, I feel that he is taking advantage of where he is playing. I know that if he pulled one of those in Azteca stadium, the best case scenario that he could expect is to be showered with something that is hopefully nothing worse than beer. Quite different than the calm, nice Canadian crowd.
Which brings me to another, perhaps, more important point. The Canadian crowd. Let’s remember for a second that Will Johnson is the Canadian Men’s National captain. Yes, not only a Canadian but the Canadian captain. Call me a traditionalist, but I would think that should come with certain degree of responsibility and he owes some respect when playing on Canadian soil in front of Canadian fans. It doesn’t happen often after all. So, by all means Will, go ahead and tell the Seattle or LA crowds to shut up.
Maybe I am full of it. Maybe I am being a hypocrite because I feel entitled to yell whatever I want at the players on the pitch but I don’t like it when they send it back my way. Maybe I am overblowing a meaningless detail. Maybe I am just misdirecting my anger and frustration to the wrong person and I should really focus my efforts on my own non-playoff team. Or maybe Will Johnson is just a douchbaggy prick.
What do you think?