If the CFL Comes – I Go
I must be willing to take a lot.
I am willing to renew my season seats for Toronto FC in spite of the following:
- No Playoffs or anything resembling a sniff at the playoffs for a seventh straight campaign
- Yet another bloodletting at the top of the organization
- Changes of strategy and “vision” about as often as the average person changes their socks
- The likely possibility of yet another coaching change in spite of the reassuring words from TFC Head Honcho Tim Leiweke today
- And the strong probability that 2014 might be yet another “rebuilding” campaign that sees the progress we all yearn for to likely take place in anything other than a linear fashion with an upward trajectory
Even through all of the horrible decisions and mistakes – through all the blunders and bullshit I for one am not going anywhere.
Maybe I am rationalizing. Maybe when I tell myself that the good days WILL come I actually believe it. Maybe when I tell myself that most football clubs around the world with the exception of a very select few are often very bad clubs for a very very long time, and TFC is just one of many struggling to make it work. Maybe even when I tell myself that the tough times like now will make the good times (when they come) all the sweeter. Or maybe when I take a look at the League this club is in there are mechanisms in place that (if properly utilized) level the playing field and give a leg up to the strugglers.
Maybe its even simpler that all of that. Maybe I will renew and keep coming back because I love the game day experience and of being in a Soccer Specific Stadium that (bare bones and ulilitarian as it may be) after these seven years feels like MY home.
But I will say this and I want you all to know how hard it is to think it let alone write and share it in a public fashion. Believe me when I say that what I am about to write publicly pains me to do so.
“If changes are made to BMO Field to accommodate the Canadian Football League Toronto Argonauts then I am done with Toronto FC. This website will be taken down. I will never attend another match. I will never ever wear TFC kit. I will never ever talk about this team. I will never watch them on Television.“
The soccer (such as it has been) and the mistake after mistake after mistake has not enough for me to even question walking away. Compromising the integrity of the stadium to accommodate the massive CFL field would in my humble opinion completely destroy the facility in such a way that it would make the enjoyment of even shite soccer untenable for me.
The CFL regulation field is a bit over 137 metres. BMO Field’s playing surface is 105 metres. That is a difference for the mathematically challenged of roughly 32 metres or just shy of 105 feet. That might not sound like much but it means tearing out one or both of the north and south ends of the ground to accommodate the extra length. And most importantly it means getting rid of the real grass surface and taking the retrograde step to moving back to some sort of artificial surface. Whether it is one of these hybrid surfaces many have talked about today on the various TFC message boards or back to the horrible FieldTurf surface is to me as much of a deal breaker as the shoehorning in of the CFL Field into a structure never designed for it.
Simply put grass will have to go to accommodate the Argonauts. The few and far between Rugby matches at BMO Field are a false analogy if they are compared to the beating a 12-15 game CFL schedule would do to a manicured grass surface. Ask the Edmonton Eskimos why they had to rip out the grass surface from Commonwealth Stadium to replace it with grass. Ask the Vancouver Whitecaps why they were not able to convince the Lions or BC Place to go with grass. Ask the folks in Hamilton, Ottawa or Winnipeg who all have new CFL stadia built or being built with artificial turf why natural grass was never ever considered for those three new facilities.
Tim Leiweke This Thursday publicly toyed with the notion of finding some means to accommodate The Argonauts into some revitalized BMO Field concept as part of the announcement of the departure of Kevin Payne (more on that soon!). Hopefully Mr. Leiweke learns over the coming days that if he has any true sense of the damaged entity that Toronto FC currently is then he will never ever speak again of this lunacy.
As it stands today all the fans who are still here have to grasp to is a sense of hope that things HAVE to eventually get better on the field and that no matter what happens the club is sensible enough to know that in spite of the compromises and bare bones nature of the ground BMO Field is a gem of a stadium to watch a soccer game in. If you take away the integrity of a soccer specific stadium to try and accommodate such a different tenant with different needs you will destroy the one thing the team has not been able to fuck up in spite of itself these past seven seasons.
Last warning Mr. Leiweke. Bring the CFL to BMO Field and you will see the last of me. And I think many will do the very same.