The Long and the Short of It

WNY v SEA was contested on a very small field tonight  – although within FIFA regulations, if not NWSL . I was gonna let this go, but decided I needed to at least set the record straight about where I was coming from. Whether you agree or not isn’t an issue to me, just that you know how I got here.

In my timeline on twitter, and I want to stress MY timeline,  Jeff Kassouf tweeted that playing on WNY’s field was “crazy”.

He has a following and of course word spread. More than a few people commented asking why the game was being played on this particular field and other questions about the venue. This prompted me to tweet this:

Typo aside, my tweet was a simple observation that many people tweeting in reply to Kassouf were critical without being informed about the venue. My feeling was – and is – when being critical of anything/or anyone, know something about what/who you’re being critical of. The venue change was announced two weeks ago giving anyone who cared ample time to ask questions about configuration, size, surface quality, etc.

My observation was not well received. That’s how it goes sometimes.

If I thought that was bad, the reaction after I tweeted this –

 

-was worse.

At the time of my tweet, and really still, I didn’t see the harm in one game played on a smaller than NWSL standard field. At the time there were no details about emails to coaches or meetings with referees or questions of safety from staff or players. It was a venue change for a team that couldn’t use their home field for one game due to scheduling conflicts. In the grand scheme of things, to me, this is small potatoes. I don’t think anyone from owners to refs to NWSL reps intended to disrespect players by asking them to do this one time for the good of the schedule.

The reaction of the players is a whole other thing. I think their reaction to this field is indicative of their frustration with so many other things that need to be rectified in relation to them. And although I support the USWNT players in their pursuit of equal pay for equal play, I find it a little self-serving that they chose now to chime in for their NWSL counterparts. This just gives them more to fight USSF with in their CBA negotiations, not necessarily a bad thing, but still self-serving.

Do I think the players deserve better? Yes, absolutely. I also think that even though this is the 3rd iteration of a league it doesn’t mean they’ll get everything right the first time. They did the wrong thing for the right reason, something I know I’ve done in my life more than once. So maybe that’s why I don’t think this is the big issue it’s blown up into, I think it’s more of a bellwether for the ills within the league in regard to player relations.

Many parties to this game had a chance to stop it, and none did, this says more to me than the fact that the venue was set up the way it was in the first place.

So the long of it is written above, the short of it is – life is complicated..and so is WoSo.

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2 thoughts on “The Long and the Short of It

  1. Plenty here to parse out. The league and players at the time didn’t seem to make any mention of the configuration issue. If WNY knew of the narrow pitch and it wasn’t translated to the league or Seattle at the time of the move, then you might have an issue. The USWNT players chiming in piled fuel on the fire. It looks like the options to reschedule weren’t feasible (balanced schedule made this the Reign’s only trip to Rochester, they had already made their visits to Boston and Sky Blue, and the trip to Washington is a mid-week in the middle of a Sun/Wed/Sun block, never mind any other possible conflicts with the Rhinos for the venue), so the game more or less HAD to get played last night or POSSIBLY get played on Monday or this past Thursday. I’m willing to give NWSL and WNY a slight benefit of the doubt on this (last-minute move, so possibly no ability on the part of Frontier Field to plan for a sodding of the infield to allow for a wider pitch although the Red Wings have been on the road since the 6th and don’t return until next Friday), but I think the City of Rochester should be strung up over booting the Flash for their SummerFest concerts/activities.

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    • If you take the whole thing at face value, and I did at the time, I don’t think the venue was an issue. I don’t even think the field as was initially presented – the old configuration – was an issue. I think when someone decided not to sod the infield portion and NWSL said no deal, play on the grass, it became an issue. From that point on is when it seemed to all go south, I won’t be the least bit surprised if it turns out the Flash didn’t fully communicate the new configuration in good faith, I also won’t be surprised if NWSL was negligent and just takes the word of the clubs when it comes to field conditions.

      I agree the “other considerations” portion is probably as you described and the game more or less had to be played on the 9th. Unfortunately it seems the whole mess could have been precluded if WNY had decided to sod a portion of the infield for the relatively small sum of $7K. In the grand scheme I think the lack of foresight will cost WNY and the league far more.

      As to the City of Rochester, I don’t think they’re at fault. From what I’ve read the concert was scheduled before the NWSL schedule was set, so it’s all on WNY and the league in that respect.

      My persisting thought through this all is why didn’t anyone just say no? Obviously WNY thought it was OK. Refs thought it was OK, NWSL officials (whoever the hell they are) thought it was OK. Both coaches thought it was OK. No one voiced concerns about it being unsafe – which I questioned when a fan said it. The filed was very small, but in good condition and all teams practice small-sided, close quarter drills. The fact that players ran into each other doesn’t necessarily make a field unsafe. I don’t think Kops injury was a result of the size of the field, so I struggle to see it as unsafe.

      If any one of those entities or people said no, I’m pretty sure the game would have been rescheduled or forfeited. So in a very big way they are all to blame for the eventual fall out from all the adverse attention.

      I hope that the “investigation” roots out any and all misdeeds, be they simple miscommunication to outright lies and punishes the proper people in a way that makes it clear those misdeeds are unacceptable. I still maintain that asking the players to play on that field in itself was a one off and not meant to be disrespectful. Maybe it’s because I come from an era when making sacrifices for the good of the collective was routine and instant gratification didn’t exist. I respect all the sacrifices the current players make, but I also know that they will continue to be asked to make sacrifices until the league is self-sustaining. Maybe a player’s union is needed, but in 2013 I said not until year 5 and I stand by that. Some are of the opinion that owners have deep pockets and just have teams for the “prestige” and giggles. That they can’t afford a men’s side so they fund the women. I don’t subscribe to that and even if I did I don’t think you can put too hard of a squeeze on most of them at this point. I think the best the players can expect out of this is an apology, maybe a fine or two, and hopefully more thoughtful planning on team and league levels.

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