New England Soccer Today

A Winter Tradition of Their Own?

Photo credit: mlb.com and Chris Aduama (aduamaphotography.com)

Photo credit: mlb.com and Chris Aduama (aduamaphotography.com)

On Thursday, hundreds gathered outside Fenway Park to watch a truck loaded with baseball equipment begin its annual trek down to Florida. Yes, “Truck Day” has become a mid-winter Boston sports tradition. But it shouldn’t be the only one.

Weeks before a hearty collection of Red Sox fans sent the 18-wheeler on its way, the Revolution quietly kicked off its preseason camp at the Dana Farber Fieldhouse in virtual anonymity. Oh sure, there were a few reporters on hand to witness the first official workout of 2015. Even a couple of news cameras were there. The fanfare? Nowhere to be seen.

This isn’t atypical across MLS. Many clubs located above the Mason-Dixon line open their camps sheltered from the elements in large, sterile field houses or domes, far removed from the limelight. Granted, no one’s missing out anything compelling. The first few days of camp are typically devoted to jogging, agility drills and passing duels. And that’s pretty much it.

Then again, if you want to talk about the mundane, watching a group of workers load a truck probably takes the cake. But that shouldn’t stop the Revolution from starting a mid-winter tradition of their own.

Like Red Sox fans, Revolution supporters are just as eager for any sign that the season isn’t far off. They set up their PCs, tablets and smartphones to watch live streams of the club’s preseason matches. They track the ones that aren’t broadcasted right on Twitter or Facebook. They look for something – anything – that allows them to forget that Jack Frost still has his frigid grip on the region.

Here’s an idea: Open up the first day of preseason camp to the supporters, free of charge. Set up a perimeter around the pitch inside the Dana Farber Fieldhouse, and allow fans young, old and in-between a first glimpse of the team. To smile at familiar faces. To wave hello to the not-so-familiar ones. To forget about winter. To think spring, regardless of how cold it is outside or how much snow has blanketed the region.

At the end of that first session – which is typically comprised of passing drills and jogging – allow the supporters to meet and greet the players and coaches. Heck, give a mic to Jay Heaps and have him address the spectators. Official team poet laureate? Not here.

Boston sports fans love traditions. Any chance to celebrate their favorite teams is embraced with open arms. The Red Sox, perhaps more than any pro team in the area, have catered to the passion of their fans, with Truck Day serving as Exhibit A. The club’s PR department has taken something that used to be completely insignificant and transformed it into an annual gathering. Twenty years ago, no one marked their calendar for the day that the Sox loaded up a tractor-trailer with equipment and sent it to spring training. Today, hundreds go out of their way to make sure they don’t miss it.

The Revolution don’t need a truck, or any other large vehicle with a snazzy slogan emblazoned on it, to send out their own signal that spring is near. All they have to do is start a tradition of their town. Maybe it’s something as simple as inviting the supporters into the Fieldhouse for the first workout. Or maybe it’s a preseason rally. And who knows? Maybe – just maybe – the Revolution could out-do the Red Sox in the process  before long.

One Comment

  1. ABU

    February 15, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Great idea!

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