Dear Fellow San Jose Earthquakes Fans,
It’s been a rough four years. 2012 seems a distant memory. Our team has gone through three coaches, four DPs, a deluge of signings, and zero playoff berths. 2016 is testing our limits again as our team started off strong, but finds itself back on the outside looking in at post-season play. Even a new stadium cannot assuage our frustration, and it’s reaching a boiling point. But now, more than ever, the Earthquakes need you, their fans, to rally around them, playoffs or not.
A Call For Unity To San Jose Earthquakes Fans
Over the past several weeks, tempers have flared. Schisms which started as small cracks have evolved into huge crevices. Fans have their own theory or opinion as to why the team is performing the way it is, myself included. Is Simon Dawkins the real deal? Should the team fire GM John Doyle and/or Head Coach Dom Kinnear? Theories and opinions aside, these are the times which test the mettle of a true sports fan. And unfortunately we are failing that test.
Back at Buck Shaw, there was unity in mediocrity. The Quakes were never expected to do well, but we supported our team because we loved them, not because of their record. That was what made 2012 such a magical season: no one thought the Quakes could run the league and win the Supporters’ Shield. As the team rallied, so did the fans so that we felt we were an integral part of the team’s success. What happened to those days? Did Avaya’s arrival also bring hidden dangers of developing disunity among the most loyal of fans?
Do not let the negatives get in the way of unity. We (myself included) are taking sides as if we are at war with each other over who’s right and who’s wrong. We are quick to attack others for their opinions. In the process, we have deteriorated into a fickle and jaded group of supporters. Don’t believe me?
Yesterday we heard an unfamiliar sound at Avaya: boos directed at our club and players. The negativity fans were directing at each other was redirected at our team. I had never heard fans boo our team before last night. We are caught up in the negativity. It needs to stop.
Part of the problem is Quakes media, of which I am a part. I started my blog, quakesfan.com last year. I have links to all other Quakes related media outlets, podcasts, forums, etc, on my site that I am aware of. Often, I promote other podcasts on my own podcast. I retweet Quakes related articles that are not my own. I do this not because I want to compete with other Quakes bloggers, podcasts, or media outlets, but to promote them and hopefully build unity between us. But it seems that I am the only one! There is a sense of competition within Quakes media which breeds hostility and fans are taking sides in the media “wars” of site traffic. Rather than taking sides, why not support all Quakes related media?
Perhaps the signs of disunity are seen best in the rivalry between San Jose’s supporters groups. The San Jose Ultras and Imperio Sismico have a detente which rivals the Cold War. I would love to see both groups be able to come together and work toward unity, even if they identify with different supporter groups. Can this happen, or is the damage already done? If they could lead the change for unity among their groups, I’m sure most fans would follow in the stands.
Success on the Pitch
We need to remember that we all want what is best for our club: success on the pitch. But we must also remember that all teams go through the ebbs and flows of failure as well. It’s part of sports. What makes a fan-base truly great, in my honest and humble opinion, is how supportive fans are during the difficult years, not only with the team, but also with each other.
That being said, I firmly believe a fanbase cannot help our team when we let negatives control us. What message does booing send to the players that are working hard on the field? What message does it send to fans of other teams about who we are as fans? Also, how does that help grow our fanbase? If yesterday were my first match at Avaya, I would probably not return for a second.
The facts are these: the Quakes are tied for sixth, and the race will probably come down to the Quakes, Portland Timbers, and Seattle Sounders. The Earthquakes have a good chance at making the playoffs. But in order for that to happen, the fans must do our part. Please stop the hate, the bickering, the competition. I hope that respect would abound among fans of the San Jose Earthquakes over petty arguments, that we can see the unity of supporting our team as more important that the bickering and booing, and we can use this time as a gut-check for ourselves. Let’s come together in a spirit of unity and try to be the most supportive fan base in MLS.