Saturday, August 23, 2014

What Can You Really Say?

I've seen a lot of bad matches in my time watching the Wizards/Sporting KC, but tonight's blowout loss to DC United has to be one of the worst. The 3-0 loss rivals the loss of the same score to Columbus on June 14, 2008.

Both had bad omens before they even started. Before the 2008 game, I saw Jeanne Patterson, wife of owner Neal Patterson, wearing a yellow dress. That might not sound like much, but considering the club was playing Columbus, it's never a good idea to wear the other team's colors.

Tonight's bad omen came from the pregame fireworks. On two different volleys, a shell didn't operate as planned and actually shot flares into the Cauldron. Nobody seemed to get hurt by it, but it set the tone for what was to come.

The first half of the first half was fairly uneventful. In fact, most of what we were discussing in the press box had to do with the short shorts that Benny Feilhaber was wearing.

However, that all changed fairly quickly. Starting in the 24th minute, DC United scored three goals in approximately eight minutes.

That's right. One of the better defenses in MLS, allowed an opponent to score three times in less than 10 minutes.

Is it any wonder that the crowd released some boos as the players went off the field for halftime?

Is it any wonder that they began leaving in the 75th minute?

If you need someone to envy, I wouldn't pick anyone who plays for Sporting KC this week. If I know Peter Vermes, the training facility is not going to be a pleasant place to be. I almost feel sorry for the Houston Dynamo, Sporting KC's next opponent.

Sporting KC is going to need someone to take a week's worth of frustration out on, and Houston will just happen to be in the way.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Open Letter to Robin Williams

I know this is a soccer blog, but if you'll indulge me for a few minutes, I need to get this out of my system.

Dear Robin,

I know it's rather presumptuous of me to refer to you by your first name, but you've spent so much time in my home, it's as if I've known you for years, decades even.

I'm struggling with the news of your death. It's like I've lost a member of my family. You were always that crazy uncle that we loved spending time with, because you could always make us laugh.

When I first heard the news, one of the first things I did, besides trying not to cry while I was at work, was call you a selfish bastard. I want to apologize for that. Out of everyone I know, I should know that suicide is not a selfish act, but one of ultimate desperation. I'm sorry.

I say that I should know because I've been in that deep, dark hole you found yourself in. I know how hard it is to summon up the will to keep going in the face of the soul-crushing pain that depression can bring us. I haven't told a lot of people this, but my first serious thoughts about suicide were when I was seven. Yes, seven years old.

One of the thoughts I had yesterday was that if depression can take down the funniest man on the planet, what chance do I have? I only wish that you had known how many millions of people you'd never met loved you like I do. I know the love and support I've gotten from family and friends is sometimes one of the few things that's kept me from succumbing to the dark side.

One of the other things that kept me from losing my battle with depression was you. Yes, you. Whenever I'd be feeling particularly down, I'd watch something you'd done. Whether it was "The Birdcage," "Good Morning, Vietnam" or your appearance on "Inside the Actor's Studio," it was usually enough to get me to smile and laugh again and you would pull me back from the brink.

One of Mr. Tipton's questions at the end is something I'm trying to draw some comfort from. When he asked you what you wanted to hear when you got to the Pearly Gates, you said you just wanted to know there was laughter in Heaven.

If there wasn't before, there is now, my friend. I hope you've found the peace that so eluded you here on Earth. Maybe, someday, I'll get to meet you in Heaven. I just hope that it's not for a few decades.

With much love,
Alan H.


Suicide is no joke. Please, if you are considering ending your life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Your call is confidential and will be answered by a trained counselor in a local call center.

You matter.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sporting Legends Add 3 Members

At halftime of tonight's Sporting Kansas City game against Philadelphia, the club added three members to the Sporting Legends. Founder Lamar Hunt, manager Peter Vermes and defender Jimmy Conrad joined the club's Hall of Fame.

Clark Hunt, representing his father at the ceremony, spoke to reporters before the game. He said his father would be very proud of what the game has become in Kansas City. Clark also said his father would have been incredibly proud of how well the US Men's National Team performed at the 2014 World Cup.

Conrad, who also served as team captain during his eight seasons in Kansas City, was just as goofy as you might have thought he would be. When I asked him how he felt being inducted with Lamar and Peter, he said it was almost like you could say, "One of these things is not like the other..."

Conrad also said he's only 37 and he thought he should have been in his fifties, maybe even complaining about it in the press before he was inducted.

Maybe it's just me, but I think Jimmy's induction is well deserved and he more than earned it from not only his time here, but also his play for the Stars and Stripes.

Conrad played an important part in the club's 2004 season. I think it's fair to say that if Conrad had not been part of the club that season, the club might not have won the US Open Cup or reached the MLS Cup final against DC United.

I'm sure it's possible that I'm coloring my perceptions of Conrad's time here with the fact that he's a great guy off the pitch. He has always been pleasant to deal with when I've seen him since he retired, at the 2013 MLS All-Star Game, for example. He remembers my name and I get the impression that he's genuinely happy to see me.

It's that perception, though, that helps support something I've said about this club for a very long time. Sporting KC is full of good players who are even better people. I think that's one of the tests Peter Vermes uses when trying to decide on whether or not to bring a player in. How will they fit with the rest of the group? The new guy has to adjust to the group, not the other way around.


The club's in for a very busy week. Matt Besler and Graham Zusi will be gone from training all week, as they're off to the All-Star Game in Portland and will join the team in Vancouver prior to the team's match with the Whitecaps on Sunday. Jon Kempin and Erik Palmer-Brown will also be in Portland as they will play in the Homegrown Game on Monday.

Hope the team's road form continues so the club can run its unbeaten streak to nine matches.