Our hangovers are gone. Our voices are back. Professional soccer is here and here to stay. Ottawa Fury’s first match was full of nervous intensity. Over a year of anticipation had been building up to that moment; it escaped in spilt beer (sorry!), disorganized yelling (I think I heard some Joel Plaskett in there), Ottawa’s first historic goal by Vini Dantas, and some bullshit by a referee. It wasn’t necessarily a ‘classic’ against Minnesota but Ottawa’s first match was filled with ‘intensity’. We expect Senhor Dos Santos and crew to continue fixing the problems on the field. We in SMR are right back to work making Ottawa a distinct place to watch and support soccer, football, fútbol, fußball, 足球, sakkā (サッカー), كرة القدم, or whatever you want to call it.
This Wednesday (7:30pm, Carleton University), Ottawa plays Edmonton FC for the Voyageurs Cup in the Canadian Championships. You can read a little history of the tournament here. The Voyageurs is important to us as fans and supporters of the Ottawa Fury. Why? The V Cup, donated by supporters of the Canadian National Teams, is the only route for Canadians into the CONCACAF Champions League, where the best teams from across North and Central America, and Caribbean play together. It is also the only competitive space where our second division (Ottawa and Edmonton) teams play Canada’s first division MLS teams (Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver).
Ottawa Fury FC will play Edmonton in a quick home-and-away playoff. The victor is decided by aggregate goals (if tied, the winner will have the most away goals) and will play the Montreal Impact in May in the semi-finals. An Ottawa win will mean an official tour for OFFC to la belle province and a Stony Monday Riot in Stade Saputo. Nothing short of a good time.
Our city is an adopted home for many. Our team is new. People have many allegiances to different places and different teams across this country and around the world. Each of us may still sympathize with those past yearnings. But we live in Ottawa and Ottawa Fury FC is our team. We spend a lot of time criticizing this place for being boring (there is a great documentary on this problem). We lament on how somewhere else in Canada is ‘funner’. We are embarrassed by how constrained we feel here: don’t break the rules, don’t make too much noise, don’t show too much emotion, always worry what someone else is thinking. Each person in Stony Monday Riot knows this, we feel this, no matter where we have come from, because we care about this city.
We believe strongly in Ottawa’s current identity, we believe strongly in Ottawa’s future potential, and we believe that our support for the Ottawa Fury FC will be our vehicle for breaking out. Like The Clash said, the phony beatlemania has bitten the dust. We will be loud, we will be emotional, we will care, rules may be broken along the way (sorry!), we will be creative and original, and we will have no shame because we are proud of Ottawa.
When our Ottawa Fury takes the field against Edmonton FC, it will be our chance to really claim our place in this country as supporters of the Fury and supporters of Ottawa. Come out Wednesday, stand with us (anywhere in the stadium), clap along, sing a little or a lot, and support our team.