Monday, June 2, 2008

A quick pair of videos and thoughts on the value of home and away support

(NOTE: See Update below)
I found these two videos over on the El Batallon Web site. Those guys and the Texian Army share a great deal of the credit for making Robertson Stadium into the place it is today. No one, and I mean, NO. ONE., wants to play Dynamo there. (I especially enjoy the first one, taken at Frisco May 28. About two-thirds of the way in, check out the truly pathetic HOME support for the candystripers. No wonder that place is Robertson North whenever Dynamo play there.) The second video is from the NYRB win this past weekend.

There has been much talk over on Bernardo Fallas' and Lark Howarth's blogs on the Chron about the fact that the two groups were, for what I believe is the first time ever, sitting on opposite ends of the stadium for the NYRB game this past weekend. Apparently, as best I've been able to determine, the two groups were growing beyond their sections and could no longer accommodate their independent growth if both were going to be next to each other on the North End. So now the Texian Army is on the South End (Los Surenos?) and El Batallon, seemingly the larger of the two, now occupies almost the entire North (Los Nortenos), which is clearly shown in the second video above.

Speaking as someone who sits somewhat in between, I have to say I like the arrangement and think it will be a real positive for both groups. It's also nice to have the songs and chanting coming from all around. There is now no quiet end of the stadium for opposing teams to feel relaxed. The TA now occupies the end that traditionally houses what little away support there has ever been at Robertson, so "welcoming" those invaders I assume will be their own little bailiwick in the future.

The traditional harmony between the two groups is, I believe, the envy of MLS, especially in light of the recent racist chants in Columbus (which you can read about here, here, here and here). Certainly, understanding the El Batallon chants (which you can hear here) has got this gringo more interested than ever in improving my limited Spanish. I would hope this continues. Maybe the two could enter into a healthy competition to see which side gets the most Dynamo goals. If so, the TA currently leads 1-0 after Chingy's strike Saturday night.

More power to both in the future growth that hopefully will eventually grow to encompass the stadium entire. Though as Lark pointed out on his blog, what arrangement there eventually will be in Dynamo Park, which is currently slated to seat about 10K less than the Rob, is anyone's guess.

UPDATE: Here's a statement from the Texian Army posted on their Web site this afternoon:

Texian Army Section Change
Written by Board of Directors
Monday, 02 June 2008
The Texian Army has embraced a new opportunity to help energize Robertson Stadium by relocating to Section 231 in the South End.

Some media outlets have featured speculation about the move and other Dynamo fans have asked about it. We have already heard and seen many positive responses and encouragement about the move to Section 231. But we want to clarify our motives here to assure all Dynamo fans of our dedication to creating a passionate environment, and also to prevent any misunderstanding about the change.

We decided to move to Section 231 after discussions among our committed membership resulted in a consensus that the South End offers the Texian Army the best opportunity to enhance the Dynamo's home field advantage and encourage more fans throughout the stadium to participate in chants and songs.

With the Texian Army in the South End, along with the Houston Pulse who are also supporting the Dynamo, and with El Batallon and other groups in the North End, visiting teams will now have nowhere to escape the passion of committed groups of supporters. Both ends will now feature groups that sing and chant continuously and create impressive visual displays. Whether visiting teams head North or South, they will now have to deal with loud, active groups. Having groups on both ends also means that the Dynamo players will never find themselves far from the passionate vocal and visual support that we bring for 90 minutes of every game.

By adding our songs and chants to the South End, the Texian Army will also help energize that half of Robertson. We will continue to bring continuous, loud support with coordinated songs and chants. While we will keep some songs that are popular among supporters groups throughout the Americas, we will also gradually introduce new, original songs and chants that our members develop. We believe that Dynamo fans in other sections of the stadium will eventually join us in many of these chants and songs, as we all continue the process of turning Robertson into the loudest, most intense home field in American soccer.

The Texian Army will also continue to create the visual spectacle that distinguishes organized supporters groups around the world. Fans have become accustomed to our visual displays of creative banners, large original flags, avalanches of streamers, flurries of confetti, and non-stop waiving of a forest of orange and white flags. We will only continue to improve these visual displays in Section 231 as our members develop even more new, original visuals.

Although the Texian Army is the oldest organized supporters group for the Houston Dynamo, having formed before the new MLS team in town even had a name or colors, we have always welcomed new groups in all parts of the stadium that bring passionate support for the team. We wish other groups of Dynamo supporters great success and will enjoy seeing them continue to grow and show their passion for the Dynamo.

The Texian Army is energized about our new role in the South End in Section 231. We hope that many of you will join us in our efforts to push the Dynamo forward. You can help by joining us in songs and chants. Our lyrics are available at our tailgates before every home game and will soon be available at this site. You can also consider whether you want to become directly involved in the jumping, chanting, singing, and flag waiving that we bring to Section 231. If you want to join this effort, then come to one of our tailgates or watch parties and get to know us and learn more about what we do. In either case, we urge you to express 90 minutes of passion in support of the Dynamo every game.

See you in the South End.

No comments: