Sunday, January 14, 2018

By: Vidda Grubin

I'm going to a soccer town hall today. Eric Wynalda will be speaking. I'm curious. I've also, for the past four years, been a soccer voyeur, sitting quietly and guilt free watching the soccer world spin.

I haven't always been a soccer voyeur. I was a player through college and into many years of amateur adult play. I was a coach for 25 years. I was a referee (we need more of these thingies). I am a soccer dad of two soccer playing sons, now grown and doing there own meta. I've been a soccer writer, depending on your definition, on and off for the last 7 years. I've also written some novels, kids short stories, poetry and recently music lyrics.

That last bit of stuff was always for myself. (I wanted to learn to write. I flunked all my high school grammar tests, true story) And, it was for friends, family and most importantly my children. As I aged like concrete setting on a sweltering summer day in Florida, sweat dripping off my solid grey dreams and worries of not ever having done anything meaningful, the novels, stories and poetry became that hopefully meaningful part of myself, the part I could give as gifts and share with the world.

And some really horrible things happened in my real life. Things that expose human beings and being itself for what they/it truly is, capable of virtually anything, good, bad, heroic, vicious, indifferent, selfless. 

Why am I telling you all this? Seems important to me. You need to know where the soccer/life experience has taken me so that, maybe, you understand what I'm about to say.

Anthony Precourt is right. Yep, he's a bit of a scumbag, but he's right in wanting to move the Crew out of Columbus. I wrote a couple of months ago about the Crew's move here.

Since then, I've done the voyeur thing. I've looked at Columbus physically, socially, and culturally. While Columbus is a perfect place for a professional soccer team, it's movers and shakers couldn't give a tiny rat's ass about soccer and the Crew. Look at the map below carefully.


Now, be honest with yourself. Where is there a compelling space for a downtown area Columbus Crew stadium? Did the people who could purchase/set aside/develop land in the rapidly developing downtown area keep the Crew in mind when transforming downtown, the Brewery District, the Short North, Italian Village, Franklinton? When Crew stadium was built at the fairgrounds did the movers and shakers begin to shape the area around the stadium into a destination for soccer/entertainment? Be honest.

There really is nowhere. The best spot is probably the Audubon park adjacent to German Village/Brewery District. That's not going to happen. Instead of hotels, condos, bars and restaurants going up near Crew stadium we got Lowes, Frisch's Big Boy and Aldi.

All of the above leaves only one good place for Crew stadium going forward; right where it is, but only if half the fairgrounds were sold to Precourt and developers to turn into Condos, bars, restaurants and parking garages. That is not going to happen.

Precourt and Garber, scumbags that they are, made an assessment of the prevailing money, culture and social environment (mostly the money and power part) in Columbus and decided, rightly, that the Columbus money and power people not only didn't care about soccer and the Crew, they actively worked against the Crew for...well...ever.

I'm going to a soccer town hall today.

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