The Houston Dynamo are not like most other pro teams in the City of Houston; they are not under the constant scrutiny of the media and are more or less forgiven for their past performances. It has gotten to the point that as soon as something unsavory is said about the team, the team itself almost feels offended by such remarks.
Even though some fans do not enjoy the way Will Bruin plays, can it really be said that sports outlets speak of him in a negative light? How many times have you flipped on the television and watched a segment on the Houston Dynamo’s lackluster performances?
When the Astros were in the middle of a bad season in 2005, the Houston Chronicle famously released a picture of a tombstone with the season etched on it. It’s kind of hilarious that the Astros went to the World Series that year, but at least the team felt some sort of pressure from the media. In fact, it was later said by multiple players that they took that article to heart and used it as motivation.
That’s not the case with the Houston Dynamo. For the most part the only people that cover the Houston Dynamo are either associated with the league or team or just put out press releases directly from the team.
There’s this funny story about me being present for a training that involved a big announcement. The announcement was either for Oscar Boniek Garcia’s signing or Brian Ching returning. I had no media pass, still don’t, and just stood there waiting because I love the team. I wasn’t writing for a page, so the only people that would “read” my comments were my actual friends.
As I stood there waiting, Mark Berman from Fox 26 arrives, he parks an SUV behind my car and gets off in a suit. I always respected him as a sports personality in this city, and was excited that he was there covering the team. As the heat got even more intense in the summer afternoon, he became antsy and started pacing back and forth. After a few minutes, he picked up his phone called somebody and complained.
I will not state the exact words he used, because this is a family website and wouldn’t want to start using four letter words. However, he got so fed up, he got inside his SUV, and left his camera guy outside waiting. Mark Berman had decided to sit in his SUV with the A/C on instead of watching a Dynamo practice before recording his segment. He wasn’t enjoying the fact that he was covering the Dynamo. He clearly seemed annoyed by the fact he had to wait until training was over to get his footage and leave.
When I tuned in to Fox 26 that day, he had nothing special to say about the announcement, and just released some footage of the announcement and moved on to the Texans. The only thing that really angered me about this was that he was one of a couple of reporters that was present that wasn’t associated with the league or team in any way.
Dominic Kinnear once stated that he was frustrated with fans, and there was a need to educate them about the “ebbs and flow of Major League Soccer”. The full transcription is available here. At the time of that comment, I was actually offended. I felt as if Kinnear was saying that the fans that follow the Houston Dynamo are uneducated.
The truth is, it’s not our fault that we sometimes seem that way. It’s the fact that the Houston Dynamo live in a bubble. We are fed what the Dynamo want us to be told. They release an article on Will Bruin almost equaling Clint Mathis’ goal total, but ignore the fact that there are fans that are not happy with his performances.
Then you have other outlets stating the same thing, and not really offering another viewpoint. The truth is Houston Dynamo fans are slowly realizing this, and becoming frustrated with it. Orange in the Oven, Keeper Notes, Dynamo Theory, and other blogs or entities would not exist without the need for an alternative viewpoint.
The frustrating part is that it almost seems as if the organization doesn’t want us to do this. A few weeks ago I e-mailed the Houston Dynamo hoping to get a training schedule e-mailed to me periodically. I didn’t ask for a media pass. I merely asked for a training schedule. The Houston Dynamo do not have a policy against this. I’ve attended more than a few in the past without a single bad experience.
However, I had gotten tired of guessing when the next training would be, or asking others if they knew when I could show up. My e-mail was not answered. I was ignored. I’ve followed this team for years, their entire existence to be exact, and I have never asked for anything in return. The team gives me enough by merely existing.
However, I felt that I needed to educate myself for my readers. If I was to expect this site to grow, I would need to better myself. How could I justify writing negative things about Dominic Kinnear if I didn’t see him at work during training regularly? I have the means to attend a training or two a week without needing another source of income. This site would have been there for the same reason Hal went to see the Dash train. The simple love of the game.
Instead, I have the knowledge that somebody that doesn’t even like attending practices, and would prefer to be in the comfort of air conditioning is probably receiving a schedule each and every week while rarely attending one himself.
I agree with Dominic Kinnear, we can be uneducated at times, but not because we want to be. There seems to be a barrier that is holding us back. Sometimes that’s the lack of transparency by the league or team, and others it’s merely ignoring an e-mail.