Happy New Year to you and yours, Dynamo fans. Its been a hectic holiday season for me, with travel back to the glorious H-Town, family flooding in shortly afterwards, and two new nephews experiencing their first Christmas season. While watching them, alight with the holiday spirit, attacking wrapping paper with carnal fury, I had an epiphany of sorts. I saw in them the same joy that I felt when I first caught a glimpse of the BBVA Compass Stadium while driving up 59. Was it because the stadium's construction was like a gift to soccer fandom in Houston? Sort of...but no. Hit the jump, as we journey back to holidays of old, and seek enlightenment in the wonders of childhood - or at least to see what on Earth I'm actually talking about.
I spent the beginning of my Christmas break shopping in Austin for gifts for my nephews. After much consternation, I finally settled on faux-formal onesies, which gave the little guys an "I'm formal, but here to party" type of hipster mystique. Christmas morning came, and I gleefully handed the 9 and 11 month old guys their presents. As they had with earlier gifts, they grabbed the boxes and tore the shiny paper away from its cardboard skeleton. And then, as my excitement piqued...they stopped to play with the paper.
A few minutes passed, and they inevitably freed the onesies from their cardboard purgatory. And then...they stopped again to play with the boxes.
What I hadn't realized was that not-yet-one year olds have no perspective for appreciating hipster fashion. Or any gift for that matter, whether it be cars or blocks or books - as long as there are boxes and wrapping paper to be had. The overwhelming experience of complete, 100% imagination is more tangible to their infant minds compared to the new toys they've received. However, with time they inevitably found the toys they were destined to play with. No, in my case they didn't wear the hipster onesies and pick up a strong emotional tie to Starbucks coffee, plaid, and Bon Iver. But the little guys did begin to truly enjoy the books, puzzles, and toys they received. Sure, this equated to teething and drooling on them, but the toys were loved for the foreseeable future.
How does this relate at all to Dynamo fandom? Well, while back from college I drove up 59 past Minute Maid. To my surprise, and elation, a strange metallic structure arose from the side of the highway. I had finally set sight on El Banco (or: The Compass, BBVA, Beevah, etc etc). I spent the next hour with my mind racing, thinking of how amazing, cool, inspired, and (pick your favorite superlative) the stadium looked. I was so proud of what Dynamo fans, players, and execs had achieved leading up to this moment. I saw the stadium as a testament to what had occurred in the past, and dreamed of the promise it held for the future. It was truly an excellent gift.
So, I set about writing a detailed report of the construction's progress. I researched all of the events and statements throughout the past few months, and found information on the coming steps for the completion of the stadium. But, suddenly, talking about the stadium became more and more labored.
What I realized is that Dynamo fans are stuck playing with the box. Since the groundbreaking earlier this year, we have thrown our hearts and souls into the venture. The shell of the stadium is finished, and it is a sight to see. We have spent pages upon pages toasting (or roasting) the unveiling of the BBVA Compass Stadium, but the true gift lies ahead.
Enjoy the box, ladies and gents. However, just as my nephews did last month, we will push the box aside on May 12th and fully grasp our potential as a franchise. Hopefully with less drool.
Forza Naranja. Viva El Banco.