Fans Crowning Saviors

""In America too many people are in a hurry to anoint the 'American Pelé.' We saw that to some extent with Bobby [Convey]."
- Kevin Payne, DC United GM, ESPN, 4.22.07 (LINK)

If that statement applies to Convey, think of what it meant to Freddy Adu (who's already getting called out (hat-tip: Offside Rules) and accused of failing to notice the existence of his right foot) or what it means now to Josmer Altidore.

Being the cautious sort (except when it comes to making miles-off-target predictions), I do try not to go in for this. And, in the fantasy space that is my head, I somehow believe I don't. Taking a more realistic line, though, I'll assume I do - and that takes one to the next question: Why? Why is it so easy to get sucked into hype, whether it's about a player or this year's hot-shit team (think DC United)? More specifically, what's the dominant impulse that allows it - the fan or the amateur scout?

I can only answer the last one for myself: it's the amateur scout for me and the impulse grows from nothing more than wanting to seem "wise" (as in, "in the know"; this is why I dub Houston "paper tigers" after just three games). I came across a great example of the "fan impulse" today; an admirably excited Chivas fan already expects Maykel Galindo's player of the week honors to translate to player of the year. Personally, I think Galindo's doing great and wish him the best with that...but I'm not counting on it based on him making Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC look foolish.

The most remarkable thing is how quickly it strikes: for instance, Juan Pablo Angel has just arrived and, before he's kicked a ball in MLS, he's already the missing piece that will make Red Bull New York overnight contenders (for example); a muted version of the same mania struck DC fans when Fred was signed - damn shame about the defense rendering all that irrelevant.

Where am I going with this? I'm not 100% sure. It's just a peculiar thing, that's all. But on a fairly simple level, it's just kind of fun getting sucked in. But there's also something about waking up without immediately assuming that every freakin' day is Christmas that keeps one grounded. On the flipside of that metaphor, I imagine that the players we all hype would appreciate not feeling as if they spoiled Christmas every time they leave the field without sending fans into orgasm.


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