Four days after beating the Washington Spirit at home 4-0, the Houston Dash visited smoky Seattle last night and lost 2-0 to the Reign. They still have a shot at a top-four finish in the NWSL and their first playoff in their five seasons of existence. Two points separate fourth place (Chicago Red Stars) from seventh (Dash). But they will likely need to win both of their remaining matches: one at home against a Sky Blue team that has yet to win this season; the other at North Carolina against a team that has lost only once.
The good news is that the North Carolina Courage's one loss was on their Cary NC home ground, at the hands—er, I mean the feet—of the Utah Royals. So the Courage are not invincible.
A playoff run would be nice, but even if the Dash fall short, I'm still a big fan...and the live-in companion of their loudest fan. ;-)
Order out of Organizational Chaos
I've heard from lots of fans about how messed up the Dynamo-Dash organization is, which the Christen Press mess and other quality players' departures brought to light. But that doesn't affect how I feel about the players, both Dash and Dynamo, or about the squad as a whole that new manager Vera Pauw has built. (I'm less enchanted with the Dynamo as a unit and with manager Wilmer Cabrera.)
I had my doubts about Pauw at the beginning of the season, when the team wasn't quite playing as a team, what with all the new arrivals. But even then I detected that Pauw was breaking things down into their component parts, improving those parts, and reassembling them into something better. The result is the Dash's best season yet: new highs for wins with 8, and for points and goals with 29 of each as of today.
Moving Rachel Daly back to the top of the formation where she belongs was the biggest improvement. Daly plays pretty well at any outfield position, including right fullback where she plays for England, but with the Dash she needs to be up front combining with Kealia Ohai. The additions of creative attacker Sofia Huerta and tall halfback Claire Polkinghorne, among others, helped solidify the team.
Just before the season started, Kayleen and I went to the Chocolate Bar in Rice Village and saw Coach Pauw waiting to order ice cream. We are frequent customers at both locations of the Chocolate Bar, so I interpreted that as a good sign.
Taking the Niece
This Saturday evening, I'll get to take my five-year-old niece and her parents to their first Dash match, the final 2018 regular-season home game against winless wonders Sky Blue FC. The niece has exhibited an aptitude for soccer, so I hope she'll be impressed with seeing some of the world's best players who happen to be women—including the two-time FIFA player of the year, former Dasher Carli Lloyd.
Ideally, I'd hope that, by the time my niece reaches adulthood, women's team sports will get coverage and attendance equal to men's in this country—and perhaps even equitable salaries for women athletes. Some day soon, perhaps in my lifetime, women's sports will just be...sports. It's already happening in Cascadia: The Portland Thorns routinely play to capacity crowds.
If you're curious, tickets are still available for Saturday, including some $9 specials for Fan Appreciation Night (Promotion Code = BBVA). This game will likely have way more than the usual 3,000 or so fans in attendance, and may set a new attendance record.
I'll leave it to my sister to explain to her daughter (or not) the meaning of #DashTFOn.
This is a terribly mundane entry, having nothing to do with third-party politics or other Big Issues (although a Green comrade passed along a tip about some potentially big doings in our local Green Party chapter—nothing worth reporting yet). It's mostly about my own personal life. So skip this unless you actually know and like me—or think you might.
I'm still mentally surfacing, and resurfacing, from this past May the Fourth Be with Cinco de Mayo weekend. In many ways, the activities weren't all that unusual, but the entire time I didn't feel as though I was actually experiencing any of it. There must be a fancy Greek word for that dreamlike state in which you feel as if you're experiencing something vicariously, but it's really you going through it. Previously, I had felt something similar when taking anti-depressants, but I haven't been on those for years.
In the various Inner-Loop places I visited, I saw quite a few people I knew, because when I'm out & about inside the Loop, that's what happens. Many of these acquaintances asked me variations of "How are you doing?" If I were to answer with 100% honesty, I would have said, "I don't know."
We're taking a break from the political scene, which remains hardcore depressing despite some encouraging news from the Koreas.
This entry started out as a set of brief observations on a variety of topics, but it has turned into a rantlet about the tribulations of the Houston Dash, in which I throw around a couple-dozen players' names to make it look as if I know what I'm talking about. Socratic Gadfly has his Cardinals, Kuffner has his Yankees; I've got my Dynamo and Dash (and the US national teams).
The Rockets are steamrolling through the NBA playoffs. The Astros are finishing one of the best Aprils in their 57-year history. Our professional soccer teams? They're not exactly keeping pace: The Dynamo are 2-2-3 (8 points), the Dash 0-2-3 (2 points).
Despite the club's casual attitude about losing Christen Press to Sweden before she played even a minute in orange, her absence is really starting to sting.
What an up-and-down weekend. On a beautiful Easter Fools' Day afternoon, I got together with some beautiful friends for an Alice in Wonderland–inspired tea party amid the painted trees at Spotts Park. It's always uplifting when free spirits of various ages, ethnicities, and orientations can create and enjoy such harmonious vibes. It was one of those moments that make me reflect on why I am proud to call myself a Burner.
I went from that to Rudyard's, where several dozen friends joined Angie Hayes of Clinic Access Support Network on her first evening as Angie Hayes-Yousif. Yes, she and her beloved Amar got married on April Fools' Day, with her brother David officiating in a shall-we-say non-traditional ceremony.
Monday morning...back to depressing reality.
The news from Gaza is depressing even for Gaza, reminding us that the real Axis of Evil consists of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the good ol' US of A. Today's Democracy Now! headlines also included an incident in which a sheriff's deputy drove his vehicle into a woman protesting against Stephon Clarke's murder-by-cop in Sacramento. It was not a love tap: Wanda Cleveland had to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
If you think that there's no connection between cops shooting an unarmed man in the back in his grandmother's back yard in Sacramento and Israeli soldiers shooting unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the back, or that it's strictly coincidental...well, think again, my friend.
He Always Plays "Saint Patrick Battalion" in Texas
David Rovics, aka "the musical version of Democracy Now!" appeared at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar Friday night. The last time I saw Rovics perform, at a fundraiser for the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2016, I left the event profoundly depressed; this time he wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs, but the songs he chose and his presentation were more inspiring and upbeat. Torry Mercer's Deconstruction Crew also turned it a pretty good set.
Still, there were two intensely disappointing facts to relate about Friday night's event:
Consolation: I scored an Everything Ever Recorded by David Rovics flash drive for $30.
Soccer and Stainless Steel Sculpture
Even Saturday night's Dynamo match was depressing. Kayleen and I watched the Orange get dismembered by a relatively weak New England Revolution. USMNT left back Damarcus Beasley took a red card for the team, knocking down a Revs attacker to stop a clear scoring opportunity in the 35th minute. Four games into the season, this team has already lost more MLS home games than in all of 2017.
The Dash played a scoreless draw with the Utah Royals, the team that replaced the now-defunct FC Kansas City. Two home games, two points. The consolation there is that USWNT goalkeeper Jane Campbell continues to impress.
Meanwhile, echoing my post last week about the Dash's no-show Christen Press, Houston and Chicago find themselves in a good-natured war of words over who's giant stainless steel bean is more awesome. Well, it's mostly good-natured: Gray Matters blogger Cort McMurray, when he doesn't have anything nice to say, can be counted on to say whatever's on his mind. (NOTE: You may need a digital subscription to read the Chronicle online.) McMurray is also quite conscious of—and comfortable with—Houston's renowned inferiority complex.
[Updates appear at the end of this entry.]
You may already know that Houston has an inferiority complex, roughly proportionate to its size importance. Having its name as the first word ever transmitted from the moon is not enough to compensate for not being perceived as in the same league with New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, or even Austin. It's the main reason people here buy and wear t-shirts that say Fuck You, Houston's Awesome. If our city really were awesome, we wouldn't have to keep telling ourselves that it is.
So when a smart, personable, hard-working, relatively woke international star like Christen Press is traded to the Houston women's soccer franchise, and then refuses even to report to training camp without even specifying why??? Houstonians who follow the game might wonder what they did to deserve such a snubbing.
Yesterday, before going to the Houston Dash's match against Press's former team, Chicago Red Stars, I checked the Dash's roster page to see if the team had at least given her a squad number. Her entry had appeared without a number since the big three-way swap was announced in January: a swap that included shipping two-time FIFA player of the year Carli Lloyd to play in her beloved New Jersey for Sky Blue FC and Australian star Sam Kerr to Chicago. (Kerr was away on international duty with the Matildas this weekend.)
As of yesterday, Press's entry and mugshot were no longer on the page, and I could not find any news on the Dynamo/Dash website explaining it.
Somehow the March for Our Lives just wasn't on my radar. A lot of friends, particularly from First UU Church, marched Saturday here in Houston. I decided to take a bike ride with some other friends and friends of theirs. It was good for me to catch up and make some new acquaintances; however, as the day went on, I felt an increasing sense of FOMO. (That's Fear Of Missing Out, for my less Web-savvy readers.) Dammit, I said to myself, I could have been collecting signatures for the Greens, assuming that not every registered voter at the March had voted in a primary election this year. I didn't even think about putting the event on the HCGP Petitioning Opportunities calendar until too late.
My clipboards and I also didn't hang out near the gates of the In Bloom Music Festival over the weekend as I'd kind of wanted to. In addition, there was the Lyons Avenue Renaissance Festival (no, not that kind of Renaissance) in Fifth Ward.
But I'm not sweating it too profusely, especially since I'm not certain how many other Greenies across the state, if any, are actively petitioning.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.