Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kansas City Wizards to Sporting Kansas City: The Five Stages of Grief

Contributing Editor Graham Fox

If you aren’t from Kansas City, you’ve moved on to other news. The Wizard’s name change has been left in the dust. It’s not like the football world isn’t full of delightful swirling news stories. College Cups, World Cup bids, World Cup bid results + corruption, team transfers, new jerseys, stadium renovations, weird reentry drafts, a host of colorful MLS characters on Twitter.

But for me, in Kansas City, the change from The Wizards to Sporting Kansas City hasn’t been quite that smooth. The ground shifted. Blogs change their names and themes. The Wizards rolled out a whole host of new sites. The semi weekly news release was full of the word Sporting. Everyone around me keeps saying Sporting, and my heart and mind are fighting a battle.

As my mind fights my heart, I realized I am going through the five stages of grief.

Hey. Have you seen the new post over at Down the Byline? Some joker made a fake badge that looks identical to the Eastern Conference badge. What kind of morons does he think we all are? Obviously, it’s just someone having a laugh.

There is no way in hell that OnGoal would change the name to something so, well, so foreign to Kansas City. I keep explaining the rumor over and over to everyone who asks. There hasn’t been one Kansas Citian who has any inkling that the words Sporting and Kansas City can combine together to form some sort of soccer team name, or that it has done any place else.

Surely OnGoal wouldn’t pick a name that NO ONE FROM KANSAS CITY CAN CONNECT TO IN ANYWAY.

It’s all just one giant joke. OnGoal are marketing geniuses and are about to pull the biggest fake name change hoax in the history of MLS name changes.

But you know what? I don’t really care. As a super pro amateur blogger journalist contributing editor I’m above it all.

The next day:


Sure Cindy, I agree, the name Sporting Kansas City is like, “totally retarded”. But come on, I mean, Sporting Kansas City isn’t so bad, it could have been something like, um, I don’t know, but it could have been so much worse.

What if they maybe called us the Dorothy Toto Golden Brick Road Lovers or something? That could have been so much worse. Or if they had called us Manchesters United. Now that would have been bad.

Ugh. The name is going to be Sporting. All the official news agency have stopped referring to the Wizards. Sporting, sporting, sporting, it’s everywhere. How am I supposed to say, “Sporting”. Every time I’m forced to reference the team, through words or type, I choke, cough, and say Wizards instead.

Foreign words are hard to accept

How many times did I, both drunk and sober, jump and stand and sing, “Wizards till I die” or “Oh when the Wiz, go marching in” or “When the Wizards win the cup”?

It’s hard to be reminded that our words and cheers mean nothing. That we are all really just cheering for a business like any other business and that the end goal is money. OnGoal for money and greater profits!

I can picture OnGoals' front office looking down at thousands of cheering fans, clinking champagne glasses together, and cleaning their monocles.

“By God old chaps” they say, “those freaking idiots are celebrating their way into drunkenly paying to sit in our stadium, eat expensive food and drink, pay $100s for customized shirts we change every year so they have to buy new ones, and soon we’ll get a corporation to pay us to put their logo on the jersey. Then our consumers will be paying us to wear an advertisement for our corporation all while they advertise a secondary corporation that pays us! It’s the American dream come true!”

We can cheer all we want, and try to pretend that our relationships to a team mean something bigger, and that they connect us to people, but they really don’t.

It’s all about money, and God is dead.

Spor…ting. Sporting. I’ve rolled the name around in my head a couple thousand times. Sporting. Kansas. City.

My browsers home page, The Full 90, has redesigned to remove all Wizards references.

Those weekly news releases from the front office keep rolling in. I have to make my Sporting Kansas City seat selection.

I can accept it. Sporting Kansas City.

But don’t ask me to sing it or say it. Not yet.

It’s still too soon.


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Anonymous joe the curmudgeon said...

have ye worked on any new Sporting KC chants yet? Or are the faithful still gonna Wiz away?

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stage 2 is my favorite.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Graham said...

Hey Joe,I know the big soccer Sporting forum has a couple threads of people trying to figure out new songs.

I'm betting there will still be a couple wizards chants.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep. pretty goddam retarded. i realize Wiz and Burn and Clash and MetroStars! were terrible names that needed to be changed, but what was wrong with Wizards? the Wizards actually had an MLS Cup and some good history to remember... but it's all gone now.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Ky said...

I have not posted on any blogs in a while mostly because I was stuck in Stage 2. Honestly I am still there. There may need to be a branch off of the normal 5 step to include resolve. I am not using the new name nor am I buying new merchandise. I am a Wizards fan and have been since 96. I still cannot get around the rebrand. If we wanted to go to a Euro sympathetic name fine. Those still incorporate club history. I would have been ok with a 96 reference of some sort. My resolve is to remain a Wizards fan.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Joe Smith said...

I stopped in at a friend of mine's shop awhile back and he had a huge giant pile of boxes full of deflated soccer balls.

He tossed me an inflated one and then swore me to secrecy.

He says to me "This is Top Secret and I need you to keep quiet because the balls have the Wiz' new name on them".

I was like "Wow". "I get to know the new name before anyone else". How cool.

I played with the ball tossing it around and then rolled it around in my hands to see what the new name was. I continued to roll it around, but never spotted the name.

I told him he was wrong, that there was no team name on those balls.

I did spot the Sporting KC thing on the balls, but just figured it was the bigger organization's name and not the team's name.

Kind of like John Henry's conglomo Fenway Sports. They have teams, but those teams have proper names like the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC.

The Wiz was doing all of these great things to integrate their team into our city and the whole organization looked to be sharp as a tack, until...

They choose that stupid frikkin' name for their team.

WTF were they thinking? Were they afraid that someone was gonna get the name first so they had to act fast?

Were they smokin' crack?

We'll probably never know.

One thing I do know is that they have set the soccer world back in K.C. 20 years.

This debacle ranks right up there with New Coke as one of the stupidest moves in corporate history.

They need to admit that they made a mistake, that the name sucks and that they will hold a competition to re-name the team.

The way they pulled this off makes you think that the city council and Mayor Funk had a hand in it. that's how stupidly dumb that move was.

They couldn't of screwed the pooch any harder on this if they tried.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous wes said...

New Coke tastes great and doesn't have all that terrible corn syrup.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bring back the old Coke."

"We're not that stupid, and we're not that smart."


10:39 AM  

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