I had been planning a post somewhat like this for about a week, when I noticed that Dynamo Theory reader Ellen had already stolen my thunder in that regard. Honestly though, it's not something that I mind, because it proves that we're all thankful for the group that plays their home matches at BBVA Compass Stadium.
There are, of course, many reasons why I am thankful to have the Houston Dynamo as my team. Listing them all would take to long, however, so I'll give you my top eight:
- Stalwarts. To Brian Ching, Brad Davis, and Ricardo Clark. You guys were here at the beginning, and you're here now. Sure, Clark's tenure was interrupted. And yes, Ching is hanging his cleats up after his testimonial. But the fact that they've stayed here this long speaks to their talent, to their loyalty, and to my next item.
- Stability. The front office hasn't changed much over the years - and that has translated into a relatively stable team. You don't see the kind of turnover that they get at other clubs, and that allows players to become used to Houston - and for Houston to better appreciate the players.
- Personality. Like it or not, these guys have it. Bobby Boswell is a known prankster whose athletic prowess was first highlighted many years ago. Davis and keeper Tally Hall have truly gone Texan - they hunt, fish, and generally enjoy the outdoors. If Boniek Garcia isn't smiling, our first reaction is to wonder what went wrong. So often, you see pro athletes and find that they're not the best people to associate with, but that ha never seemed to be the case here.
- Venue. I never did make it out to Robertson Stadium, for various reasons, but I have gotten to take in a few matches at BBVA Compass. I've been to many a sports venue, and I'm not sure I've found an atmosphere quite like a Dynamo match - especially in the proximity of some of my friends and other welcoming folks associated with some of the Dynamo supporters groups. I've seen the Texans play on Monday Night Football, but 70,000+ there couldn't create the same ambiance that 22,000 can when the Dynamo are at home. It's a formidable place to play, and the Dynamo have done a good job of defending it.
- Supporters. This includes all y'all. I've found many people that I now consider to be friends through various channels. Despite the disagreements we all may have from time to time, Dynamo supporters unite through love and support for our favorite team. The friendly Texan may be a stereotype, but it's one that is often quite true here. I've sat with friends and with strangers in several different sections, and never once did I not feel welcome or at ease.
- Consistency. So much of what I've already mentioned can come back to this. Playoffs in seven of their eight years here. Six appearances in the conference championship. Four MLS Cup final appearances. Two titles. Good talent - maybe not the best, but parts that fit together to improve the whole. Dominic Kinnear has been at the helm since the club's inception, and he's managed to keep this team consistently in the hunt. As I said earlier, it's easy to be thankful when your team always has a shot, but it's also impossible to overstate our thanks.
- Attitude. The Dynamo have a certain way of doing things. They're not always flashy, and they don't have many big names.They're often overlooked and underestimated, and rarely given the respect that fans around here feel they deserve. In many cases, they're a good microcosm of the city as a whole - we're big, generally good, and well-placed to be in the midst of the action and the glory.
- Pride. I have it, you all have it, and the team has it. They leave it all out on the pitch in a way so that even in defeat, we remain loyal, we remain proud, and we remain forever orange. It's not the easiest thing in the world to keep, but the Dynamo generally manage to do so.