Maybe in 2017, when LA2 is racking up its eighth straight win, the stadium is rocking and everybody's marveling at how amazing the support for the club is, and Cristiano Ronaldo is so fired up from his hat trick that he invites reporters to hit the clubs in downtown Los Angeles with him after the game, maybe I'll look back on this column and shake my head knowingly.
So silly, you couldn't see the forest for the trees.
But right now, I feel like I'm in a waking nightmare.
When faced with the report that Chivas USA looks set to go on hiatus on Friday, hours before the team trotted out another insipid performance, the likes of which CUSA fans have grown far too accustomed to seeing the past five seasons, I was in shock.
I'm still in shock, to be honest.
One of the problems with the report is that it's just that. It sits in the air, with no denial from Major League Soccer to this point (in contrast, they moved pretty quickly to refute reports that David Beckham was going to jump ship on the Miami expansion plan and just buy Chivas USA instead). What's likely to happen is that this will just sit in the air for several weeks, hanging like a fog.
Honestly, I'd just rather know if the team is going to stop playing now, even though I know the league probably hasn't figured it out yet.
The problem, of course, is that it appears there are two fates staring this club and its remaining fans in the face: Go on hiatus for a year (or two, I love how that's just dropped in there like it's no big deal — what's another year?), or move or fold. Unless this report is completely off course, and again, the league hasn't given any indication publicly to deny it, it's really hard to see not only the prospect of losing this team for a little while, but also losing it for good.
If you read my writing on here with any regularity, you'll know that I provide no excuses for how this team has been run since 2005. Yes, there were a few good years in the mix, but those are long gone, and it's soul-crushing, to me anyway, to have to continually defend a poorly-run club's existence while watching a subpar product most of the time.
I've long argued it's a position that fans of other pro sports teams, and certainly of other MLS teams, never have to experience.
Other teams go through bad times. Hell, one team has arguably had a tougher run than Chivas USA in Toronto FC, but nobody ever says "You know what? That team is horrible. They should just fold."
But why did I bother defending this team? Why did I bother driving up from San Diego to go to games? Why did I spend my money on apparel? Why did I make a commitment to write about this team nearly every day since June 2011?
It's not all about me, and as the cliche goes, life isn't about the destination but the journey. I've had an incredible journey the last four years, often in spite of the quality of soccer I had to watch, the half-assedness with which the club was managed, the collective shrug about this team that led to many, many misconceptions about them around the league.
I write about soccer for a living now because of Chivas USA. I thank my lucky stars every single day that I get to watch games, write about news, edit writers' work, do whatever I feel like, frankly, on this site, and it all started with this neglected club.
Maybe I'm afraid it will go away if the team does? That my time spent watching games, researching prospective player and coaching candidates, memorizing arcane knowledge, will vanish, and I'll be sent packing, my skills rendered redundant.
The people who work for the club that I've gotten to know are surprisingly good-natured and really supportive despite the terrible position they've been put into continually over the years. I've met so many incredible fans of this team, and now I'm realizing we're all going to go our separate ways if this team stops playing. Some will find new MLS teams. Others will swear off MLS for good (a slew of them already have, believe me). Some of us will stay in contact, others will drift off to the new pursuit that strikes them. And that's ok. But to have it happen because the team just stops playing? I still can't get my mind around it.
Listen, if you're one of those people who's been tweeting me explaining that this move is for "the good of the league," thanks, but no thanks. It is selfish of me to internalize this, make it about me, but my first and 1,000th thought when being told, "You know, Sacramento deserves it more than you anyway" is to want to punch you in the face, even if you are a totally cool person and you aren't trying to be a jerk.
It's a common trope of "smart sportswriters" to disavow the notion that "The fans deserve X." I understand why that rhetoric is attacked, because it often leads to bizarre forays of logic and tends to be cloyingly sentimental.
If you're still reading this, then you haven't been completely turned off by my sentimentality, my frustration and insecurities being thrown onto the screen. Maybe it is better for the league's health, for the future of a (currently) theoretical LA2 club to make a true break with the mismanagement and bad juju of Chivas USA. Maybe in a couple of relatively short years, the new incarnation of this club will emerge, will be successful, and what feels like a waking nightmare now will be just a bad dream, thoroughly pushed to the past.
But please — consider that which you love, something you spend your time, money, and energy on, something that may not be perfect, but it's your thing — and consider it disappearing, maybe temporarily, maybe permanently, and through no fault of your own.
You would deserve better, wouldn't you?
What do you think? Leave a comment below!