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A Not So Happy Place



A sad Salloi - Credit: Thad Bell

A happy place. The place, situation or environment where one feels the most happy and secure. When you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, people tell you to “go to your happy place” and everything will feel better. But what do you do when your happy place is no longer happy? 

They say that Disney World is the “Happiest Place on Earth”, but for me, over the last 8 years Children’s Mercy Park has been my happy place. I love going to games and love seeing the other season ticket holders in my section that you get to know over the years. It is exciting to wake up on match day mornings, throw on my Sporting jersey, grab my scarf and get to the game. 

Everyone is always in such a good mood. Cheering together, chanting together, mutual hating the officials and opponents together. We are all there having a good time and cheering on the team that we all love so much. But lately, it just isn’t a happy place at all. 

We all know about the lack of success that the team has had over the last couple of years. I don’t have to get into all of that again, but I guess for the point of this story we should rehash. The team has failed to make the playoffs in 2 of the last 4 years, in both 2019 and 2022. It certainly looks like that will be the case again in 2023. The 2020 and 2021 seasons would be considered more successful years, but of course one of those was shortened due to COVID and the other was a good year, but didn’t end in a way that the team or fans would have wanted with a loss in the Conference Semifinals at home against Real Salt Lake.

So with the relatively unsuccessful last few years it makes sense that morale among fans would be down. I mean we all spend good hard-earned money to be at those games. I am a public school teacher. We all know that we are not highly paid individuals. I spend a good amount of money every year on my season tickets, a new kit, traveling to away games etc. as I am sure that many of you do as well. We would like to see good quality soccer for that money.

But it isn’t the money that bothers me. I have shelled out money for years and loved it all. I have been (and to an extent still am) an optimist when it comes to this team. I have a soft spot for the players and truly want to see them succeed as humans not just as athletes. I truly believe, and I know that others will disagree with me, that the players are trying their best. I don’t think they are going out there and not putting in any effort and just don’t care if they are terrible and losing. I think that they are trying to do what they are told to do and it just isn’t work. Johnny Russell said it himself. They don’t know what to do to fix it and that makes me sad. If you have Johnny Russell looking and sounding this down. Then we have all lost our happy place.

I have to say that this past weekend sure felt like the worst I have seen at a home Sporting game. The Cauldron was chanting about firing the coach (and fighting amongst themselves along the way). The team was booed at halftime and the end of the game.

Postgame, the players made a very quick pass around the stadium as the always do after a game, but they were booed as they did so and then they made a very quick exit back to the locker room. The coach had a press conference that discussed if he felt like his job was on the line.

There have been talks (or shouts!) of firings or walkouts or boycotts. Some of those may be good ideas. Some things being tossed around are not. For me, I’ll still attend matches and I’ll still cheer for the team. You won’t see me booing or shouting for people to lose their job. If that is what your choice is, that’s fine, but for me I’ll choose to silently be sad.

I just want my happy place to go back to being a happy place. And much like the players, I don’t know how to fix that. Personally, I felt very off and uncomfortable on Saturday night in the place that usually brings me so much joy. I don’t know what needs to change, but I hope something changes soon, because I need my happy place back again.


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