Finally, an end in sight to the incessant media machine regarding the new LA Galaxy player David Beckham, since he is now injured and likely out for the season. What a relief. I’ve been watching this whole BS media fascination with the new celebrity in town, and groaning every time some reporter uses the term “bend it like Beckham” as if it was some sort of clever turn of phrase. It ain’t, it was a title for a movie. Besides, everyone knows that nobody bends it like Roberto Carlos. Reporters on the Beckham beat have been either average, lazy, or exuding the feeling of being stuck on a story they don’t want to cover. Here’s some ideas to spice up your next Beckham report when you rekindle an interest in the Galaxy next year: ‘Dribble like David’, ‘Push it like yer Posh’,’Yay, New Guy on the Team’, and maybe ‘Pretty Face Returns to Foreigner Sport’. Any of those crappy tag lines might have been a bit more tolerable, at least they might indicate some sort of original take on DB’s arrival to the LA Galaxy. Instead, all we got was non-stop celebrity coverage (where will they live? who are their friends? what will she wear?) that heavy wet blanket which covers everything related to the mundane and needless, and avoids the most basic of information. Hardly anyone mentioned his position as midfielder, a crucial spot but one that isn’t necessarily expected to make goals: the most goals you can expect from Beckham will probably be from set plays and free kicks, hardly the stuff of celebrity heroes.
I feel bad for my fellow football fans that don’t understand Spanish, they’re getting a raw deal of shitty coverage from the English speaking media. It doesn’t help that MLS seem to be reverting back to their silly “soccer mom” ways of the formative years, focusing on star players rather than building solid teams, and courting celebrity coverage rather than pushing for an appreciation of the game. Campos, Cienfuegos, Ruiz, Donovan, Hermosillo, Welton, Hernandez: they’ve all been decent players on the team, and some of them also came with great fanfare about how they might take the team to a Championship title but only Donovan can claim to have done that. Didn’t Pele and the NASL teach you anything? You can’t build interest in a sport based on passing personalities. Catering to the soccer moms or the American taste for stats led to some ridiculous concepts during the first MLS season: does anyone remember the matches played under the dictatorial reign of the 90 minute countdown clock? I once saw the Galaxy lose a game even though the tying goal went in just a second or two after the buzzer, that was truly lame. What about that bogus “shoot out” to determine a winner at any cost, since Americans are considered incapable of dealing with the concept of a tie? Those were some dark times. The focus on attracting news fans marred a good game, thankfully smarter heads prevailed and they scrapped those joke concepts.
Similarly, I think this Beckham fanfare is a flashback to those days and has been mostly detrimental for the long term success of the sport; it detracts from some real strides the game has made locally in recent years. The level of play is much better than it was in those early days, with many of the MLS players having some real international experience. The Home Depot Center, despite the fucked up name, is a great venue in which to watch football matches as the stadium has some great views of the pitch. It also works well in amplifying the energy of the fans, unlike the Rose Bowl which did the exact opposite, even though I still prefer the RB for the sake of proximity! I speculate many recent Beckham fans are now considering giving up their tickets since the news of his injuries, and that’s what you’d expect when management caters to celebrity rather than the sport. They need to pay more attention to existing fans and people that already enjoy the game, strengthen your base and you’ll have no need to scour the dregs for new-but-temporary fans.
If you’ve never been to an LA Galaxy game I highly recommend you give it a try, they’re usually lots of fun and the riots are kept to a minimum. If I were you, I’d hit up the LA Riot Squad, “the anti supporter’s group” to see if you could snag some seats in area 138, it’s best to sit near people excited about watching a game. Just a suggestion. Go Galaxy!
PS. Picture above is unrelated to this post but added as a small token to increase your reading pleasure.
PPS. Yes, I am aware that I used the term football instead of ‘soccer’.