THIS IS DEFINITELY IT, Coach Dorrance. After two decades as a fan, you had convinced me there was no need to pay attention to home openers. Then I open up the paper and find out we lost. Have you no sense of tradition? We had never lost a home opener in the history of the program. What made you think this would be a good time to lose one?
I'm so mad I'm not talking to you anymore -- except maybe to yell at you from the stands.
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Many irate readers (OK, all of my readers -- both of whom happen to be irate) have written to ask me when I am going to apologize for my (and these are their words) "shameless and disgusting treatment of UNC women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance" ("Get onboard with FireAnsonDorrance.com," September 5, 2006.) After a year's reflection, the answer in brief: Never. I have nothing to apologize for.
"They" say, "Don't you feel just a little embarrassed about beginning to call for the firing of a coach five games into a season in which he won a national championship?" First of all, I did not begin calling for his firing five games into the season. I began formulating my thoughts immediately after he lost the first game of the season. The primitive paper-and-ink technology employed by the Paxton Media Group should be blamed for the delay.
No, I am not going to apologize to Dorrance. I'm going to ask Dorrance to apologize to me. And, boy, does he ever have lots to apologize for.
Fans, such as I, were really annoyed at having to watch freshmen play last season. I know they are energetic and enthusiastic and all that, but they are not nearly as disciplined and precise as the seniors you used to play. They make us nervous.
Starting five freshmen (and six to begin the second half) for the national championship game borders on a sick torture of loyal fans like me. You really need to get some older players -- and don't think we have the patience to wait while you "develop your youthful talent." UCLA, Notre Dame and Florida State all had some nice players, who weren't, I might add, freshmen. You could get some of them.
We really would like players with simpler, shorter and more pronounceable names. We long for the days of Mia Hamm. Three simple syllables. Yael Averbuch? What kind of name is that? Oh, it's great to score a goal four seconds into the game for an NCAA record for all-genders, all-divisions and all that, but it took the announcers the rest of the half to get her name right -- if they ever did.
And Casey Nogueira? College Cup All-Tournament Team and First-Team Freshman All-America sound good, but what are they worth to me if I can't brag to my friends about her because I can't even say her name?
More goals need to be scored. At every level of soccer fans want more scoring. I know, I know, "The Tar Heel women are one of the highest scoring teams in all of soccer." Well, goody for them! What about the teams your teams play against? Wouldn't it be nice if they scored every now and then, too?
While some dimwit fans, of whom there are many, enjoy always watching their team win in a blowout, the real fans, like me, prefer some hard-fought contests that we win in the end. The point is if the other team scored more it would make the games more interesting. I really do hate leaving before halftime because the match is "over."
My advice: maybe instead of just standing on the sidelines with your arms crossed watching, you could actually coach every once in while -- instruct some of your players to get red cards, for example, so we could play nine or ten against eleven. Then I wouldn't have to re-score the game in my head by counting the other team’s goal kicks versus Tar Heel goals just to make the games seem competitive.
But please, please don't misunderstand me, I'm not offering permission to the Heels to lose "every now and then" to add drama to the games -- I really don't need that. And I hope that wasn’t what you were up to with that "home opener loss."
Finally, I tire of reading of you winning "another coach-of-the-year award." If you had any versatility, any range, any creativity, you could come up with something else you could win so I, and other dedicated fans, would have something more to read about besides "another coach-of-the-year award."
Gary D. Gaddy once ran into Anson Dorrance in "Play It Again Sports." He didn't recognize him.
This article was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday September 13, 2007. Copyright 2007 Gary D. Gaddy