The lines between what is real and what is artificial in today’s world have become so blurred that the phrase “perception is reality” might be truer than it has ever been. Look at Instagram, Facebook, Twitter; we self-select only the moments we want the world to know. We post the best of ourselves, ‘Instagram Models’ post only the best of their highly edited pictures of only their best angles, and ‘influencers’ have become grassroots sales reps for products based on their social clout.
What the hell does this have to do with the Chicago Fire? Suspend your disbelief for a second and imagine the Fire as one of these skyrocketing Instagram ‘influencers.’ What would they be posting about?
They’d remind us that the Fire are in the playoff hunt as we head into the dog days of the summer, only separated by goal differential for the last playoff spot. Maybe a post about how their owner is willing to put his money where his mouth is, spending cash on a roster that looks like one of the most dangerous front lines this league has to offer on paper. They would tell you that coming to SeatGeek Stadium is more than worth the price of admission, saying that they’re unbeaten at home in 7 straight games and you won’t go home with a loss. They have a global icon of the game. They have a young, local American representing his country. And they have a collection of very likable MLS mainstays that give you confidence in their core.
This actually sounds pretty good right? Examining that in a vacuum, the fanbase should be fired up to make a playoff push in July and August. But like most of the ever-vacationing, energy drink selling, all knowing social media superstars of today, it’s all surface level. There’s an undercurrent of dismay, doubt, and even apathy for most supporters.
Bridget’s perspective after this weekend’s game pretty much sums it up for most fans— does any of those positive things even matter to most? The headspace of the average fan is so warped from the last decade, that it might be too far gone to recover for a few years.
The fanbase isn’t buying what this club is selling right now, no matter how much they touch it up or lead with what sounds the sexiest. We’ve bought in to these morsels of goodness, the attractive pieces of this team and this club, and been burned by lack of anything substantial too many times.
We’ve written about how “this game needs to be the turning point” or “this competition we should sell out for,” and in the end the Fire haven’t given us performances that would make us even believe that some of the good things that are happening this year are actually good.
There’s no move to a new stadium, no change in ownership or management, no signing that is a silver bullet in this scenario. Fans, more than anything, need something to believe in. I am not sure we have that right now.