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Reality Bytes: My response to MLS sanctions

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Is it really the MLS preseason already? This offseason seemed to fly by quite faster than I anticipated, and now I find myself pressured to get into season form. Pressured not from any source, but myself, mind you all. If the fact preseason is in mid-swing hasn't jarred your mind to how close we are to the actual MLS regular season, let me further the earthquake. We are exactly 12 days plus a couple of hours from the Dynamo's first regular season game. Twelve days is the same number of days in the well-known song relating to the days of Christmas.

Since I am well out of season form at this juncture, I've decided to tackle an issue which is receiving quite a bit of attention on this blog and from other sources both for it's controversy and it's finger-pointing nature. However, I warn you all, I'm going to not withhold any punches and I sincerely doubt it will be a fun read for us (myself included) as Dynamo fans. More after the jump.

We all know by now what the sanctions by MLS are, and how they came about. We all can reminisce about the exact events, what actually happened, who was at fault and what should be done in response to the MLS' decision to subject specific supporters' groups to consequences for actions of a few individuals. Certainly, we can debate the necessity of the sanctions, the purpose of the sanctions and how they will effect the groups.

As a fan of footy in America and abroad, I frankly don't give a rat's ass. There, I said it. MLS can mandate sanctions all day and night, and in truth the club will do everything within it's MLS-given powers and rights to enforce such sanctions as deemed necessary by MLS. At the end of the day and night, however, I sincerely believe rules are meant to be broken -- to some degree, of course.

I have followed sports since I was a child. I have watched them on TV, seen them live in all forms and I've relished in the thrill of victory and defeat on a personal level. I have witnessed miracles and catastrophes. I have seen with my own eyes the power in home field advantage both positive and negative. I have also as of this past season seen this power run amuck.

Houston is home to the MLS' best supporters' groups. And while other SG's across MLS will argue the point with me until our throats are raw and our voices hoarse or nearly gone, it will not change the fact the Texian Army, El Battalion, La Battalia and the Brick Wall are simply the best in MLS. Even still, I have seen the lack of checks and balances, the lack of self-policing by these same SG's and the lack of self-control of the individuals of the SG's become a repetitive problem.

The problem isn't even the SG's themselves, necessarily. It's with the mentality the supports take when they enter the matches. As Zach so eloquently pointed out in his article a short bit ago, it is the "us against the world" mentality. In short, it needs to end. And it needs to end quickly.

It is time as supporters, but involved with the Houston SGs and not involved, to take a stand against stupidity. And yes, what fans did, whether inebriated or not, was outright stupid. We need to, as supporters of the Dynamo and MLS and soccer, stand up, make amends, and also stop covering up for those who make the stupid choices. Sometimes the best love is tough love.

But I do not say to stand up and unite against those who perform such actions in order to single them out, no, I want to see this form of uniting become a thread that forms the very fabric of what it means to support the Houston Dynamo and really, all of soccer in America and abroad. I want to see us take hold of this opportunity to grow, to gain the national spotlight and media spotlight, and show just how beautiful the beautiful game really is.

The fire cannot be left to burn out of control, but it can be admired for it's power and it's beauty in ways which allow for the safety of everyone not in the fire. It is easy to allow passion to supercede our better judgments. When one is in the throws of passion, it is easy to make choices we regret. This is where it is up to us, as supporters both locally and abroad, to reflect on ourselves and our actions, and to embrace our brothers and sisters.

Yes, I am all over the place right now, and it comes down to my passion for soccer. I know, without a doubt, this is the same passion which courses through each and every one of you. It is the same passion that will have each of us walking into BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12th with tears welling in our eyes. It is the same passion that will have each of us screaming our bloody guts out the moment Brian Ching and Brad Davis take the home field for the first time at BBVA Compass Stadium. It is the same passion that fueled each of us to support the Houston Dynamo in their pursuit of such a stadium. And it is the same passion which will forever unite us.

If anything from this post gets across, I hope it is this: We cannot allow this to be a divisive issue. We cannot allow this to destroy the passion. We must learn to control our passion, and we must learn to display our passion in better ways. We must show the league, the fans of other teams, and quite honestly the world, we are better than this.

We are the Houston Dynamo Supporters, and we are Forever Orange.