The aftershock of Mike Magee's amazing 2013 season is still reverberating in the M.L.S. off-season. It's been great to see a Fire player receive so much recognition, but it is beginning to remind me of a scene from Being John Malkovich where John Malkovich goes through the portal and enters into his own head. It's gotten to the point where every time a Magee article pops up, I typically do not bother reading it unless the article's title suggests that something new is being said.
This week, however, is a little different because Fire news is a bit slow. Two articles about Mike Magee were published this past week, and I read them both.
The first article was written by Jack Bell for the New York Times. The Fire getting press in a national publication like the New York Times is always a nice thing to see. Mr. Bell does mention the "hometown boy returns home" story line, but his piece centers around the possibility of a call-up to the U.S. Men's National Team.
The meat of Mr. Bell's story are some of the quote's that Magee gives him - from how he filled in as a goal keeper to what he learned from Robbie Keane. One of the quote's that really stood out was Mike's thoughts on playing abroad:
"Then, about four years ago, I got smart," he said. "I learned from the mistakes of some other guys who decided going anywhere was a good move, which is not the case. Sure they made a couple of more bucks, but you don’t want to go to a bottom team somewhere and get spanked each week."
Unfortunately, Mr. Bell prefaced the quote by writing "Magee is pretty well resigned to being an M.L.S. lifer." This sentence struck a sour note for me. Maybe it is my insecurity as a fan of soccer who prefers the M.L.S. that is supplying the bad taste, but the term "lifer" to me means some one who settled with what they had instead of reaching for their full potential. "M.L.S. lifer" also infers that there is something wrong with being a career player in the M.L.S.
In fact, Magee's quote might actually be more in line with the thoughts of other players currently in the M.L.S. and could be the attitude of future M.L.S. players. The M.L.S. has improved in quality over the past decade, so players might have the luxury of being picky on where they would go abroad. Yes, holding out for Chelsea or Real Madrid to come calling might be unrealistic, but in this day and age, saying no to St. Mirren F.C. or Hamburg SV's second team might be a considered a sound decision. Clint Dempsey and Omar Gonzalez are two prime examples of American players choosing the M.L.S. over settling for any foreign club out there who comes calling.
On to more uplifting things, the second article is RedEye Chicago naming Mike Magee the 2013 Sports Stud of the Year. According to the RedEye article, more than 3,600 people voted. That's not a huge tally, but the fact that Magee beat out Patrick Kane by such a large amount is impressive.
STUD OF THE YEAR VOTING
- Mike Magee, Fire: 57 percent
- Elena Delle Donne, Sky: 38 percent
- Carlos Molina, boxing: 3 percent
- Patrick Kane, Blackhawks: 1 percent
- Alshon Jeffery, Bears: 1 percent
- Chris Sale, White Sox: 1 percent
The results might also be a clue to the readership demographic of the RedEye. While the RedEye is a publication* affiliated with the Chicago Tribune, it is created for a younger audience. Magee might not be garnishing many votes from the generation that inspired the Dikta-loving, Bears' Superfans, but it is a positive thing for the Chicago Fire to see Magee receiving press and recognition from a younger, Chicagoan crowd.
*I originally wrote that the RedEye was an online publication. I have made a correction after FIREnation pointed out that the RedEye is a printed publication in the comments below.