April 19, 2014 – Saginaw Valley State University (friendly)

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April 19, 2014
Detroit City FC 1, Saginaw Valley State University 0 (Friendly)
Hurley Field, Berkley, MI
DCFC:  Zach Myers (at some point in the first half).

It was a chilly April afternoon, and it was a game I almost missed.  We had closed on a house on April 15th, and the lease on our apartment was to expire on May 1st.  With the first round of movers arriving Monday morning, I was going to put domestic chores ahead of DCFC.

Heh.  No I wasn’t.

Prior to moving all the furnishings in, I had to get my home office painted rouge and gold.

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No programs at this game, and because it was a friendly, I was rather lax about making notes, such as the time of when the only goal was scored and if there was an attendance announced.  Still, it was a great diversion from packing and painting. The Northern Guard Supporters were in fine pre-season voice.

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2014 Season Summary

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The 2014 Season

In this season, Le Rouge entered new territory.  The previous year’s performance granted them a place in the U.S. Open Cup – the oldest professional soccer tournament in America.

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To support the community, the team wore special jerseys in partnership with the “You Can Play” project which promotes inclusion in sports, particularly with the LGBT community.  The jerseys were then auctioned with the proceeds going to the Ruth Ellis Center.

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And the Northern Guard Supporters recognized an untimely loss within the Michigan soccer community.

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For me, personally, the season brought a family rival to the pitch in which a last minute, game winning goal on enemy turf couldn’t keep me quiet…

and I took the camera into the Northern Guard Supporters Section to share the experience (minus the sensation of smoke).

It was another successful season of supporter growth both at home and on the road, and a remarkable season, falling short of first place due to a draw in the final match.

City Til I Die.

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Comic Book Review: Grendel vs The Shadow

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Comic books have always hyped the Hero versus Hero story.  The Hulk vs The Thing.  Thor vs Iron Man.  Wolverine vs The Hulk.  These match-ups feed on the competitive musings of adolescent boys.  “Who would win in a battle between Thanos and Darkseid?  Man-Thing and Swamp Thing?  Green Arrow and Hawkeye?”  The formula tends to go like this:  the two combatants are lured into battle by one or two common foes, the heroes fight, then they realize that they can achieve their goals not by fighting each other but by working together to capture the villian(s).

Grendel vs The Shadow isn’t like that.  With these two characters, common ground will never be found.  Both are single-minded against each others’ purpose.

I’ve always been fascinated by The Shadow.  Not so much the comic book character but the haunting voice of the old-time radio show.  The Shadow of radio played on your imagination; the disembodied voice of the man who could cloud men’s minds.  And the laugh.  Chilling.  He didn’t need the visual accouterments of the hat, cape, bandanna mask, and guns.  The comic book world has positioned him as an uncompromising destroyer of crime, a more psychotic vigilante than the Batman could ever be.  My interest in the character keeps me checking out different four-color artistic versions of him.

I discovered Grendel back in the 1980’s, in the original Comico Comics appearances and as the back-up story in Mage.  Matt Wagner’s art and portrayal of the dapper and sophisticated sociopath, Hunter Rose, against the ugly and bestial, pure-hearted Argent, created an evil character so charismatic the reader is tempted to root for him.

This graphic novel (co-published by Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment, 2015) was released originally as a three-issue mini-series that did not disappoint.  The hurdle Wagner had to overcome was that The Shadow and Grendel come from two different time periods.  These two characters grounded in realism, The Shadow does have a mystical history that lends itself to the possibility.  The discovery of a Mandarin scroll by Hunter Rose which is a spell that sends him back in time to The Shadow’s New York after he reads it, is not so far-fetched.

From there, it’s Grendel taking control of the prohibition-era mobs with The Shadow hot on his trail.  Grendel is intrigued by the challenge The Shadow brings.  Aside from having to deal with each other, they have their own issues.  Margo Lane is about to leave Lamont Cranston for good, which the cold dispenser of justice must sort out.  Hunter Rose is out of his time and becomes captivated by a crime lord’s daughter that temporarily seduces him from the grief he suffers from the woman he forever lost.

This arrogant crime-fighter versus this arrogant villain is entertaining.  Wagner’s beautiful sequential story-telling makes reading this hard cover edition a pleasure, not a redundancy if you’ve already read the comic book series.

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July 17, 2013: Windsor Stars (friendly)

July 17, 2013
Detroit City FC 2, Windsor Stars 0
DCFC  Grant Chong
DCFC  Akeel Tariq
Attendance:  1,211

The season having come to a tragic end, there was one friendly left on the schedule.  Last year, this was the game I first ventured into the Northern Guard Supporters routine.  This year, it proved to be…different.  I’ll let Sgt. Scary explain:

I have previously written about this night in my article, Forevermore, Rouge et Or, where you can get all the details.  Below are the videos and images I captured on this surreal evening at Cass.

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The winner of the Black Arrow Award, presented to the team’s MVP, was Zach Myers.  As he mounted the bike he was given, the Supporters stayed true to the family-friendly nature of the evening, chanting “Where’s your helmet?”

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July 14, 2013: Erie Admirals (NPSL Midwest Great Lakes Division Finals)

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The second game on July 13, 2013 featured Buffalo FC vs the Erie Admirals.   The Admirals put a thumping to Buffalo, winning by a score of 5-2, advancing to the finals match on Sunday versus Le Rouge.  Though I stayed and watched the match, I didn’t photograph it.  I was more interested in watching the team we would be facing, and as I did, I was concerned.

Erie Admirals 5, FC Buffalo 2
ERIE  Shane Howard (Billy Colton) 16′
ERIE  Shane Howard 40′
BUFF Ian Mort 57′
ERIE Daniel Deakin 69
ERIE Billy Colton (Shane Howard) 73′
ERIE Karl Jones 84′
BUFF Ian Mort 90′

Sunday arrived, and with it came 2,181 fans, to root Le Rouge on to victory.  The teams were tied with a goal each at the half.  However, Erie once again spoiled City’s party with a 4-1 victory.

Erie Admirals 4, Detroit City FC 1
ERIE  Daniel Deakin 24′
DCFC Zach Myers 45′
ERIE  Billy Colton 54′
ERIE  Karl Jones 68′
ERIE  Karl Jones 72′

There are a few things I remember about this game.  First, I was on the family-friendly side at the opening of the match.  I was talking to my wife, my back turned to the Supporters’ Section.  Suddenly, I heard this loud, collective taunt that sent a shiver up my spine.

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Come out and Plaaaaaay!

It repeated over and over as the teams were in the tunnel.  I could see captain Josh Rogers coaxing the Supporters on with his arms and hands.

Second, I remember it was a scorching hot day.  As the game progressed in the second half, and Le Rouge’s chances at victory diminished, the verbal taunts were getting nastier.  During the second half I positioned myself along the fence on the Supporters’ side near the north goal that DCFC attacked.  Within the final ten minutes, I heard a guy – one of many on that day – calling Erie keeper Dan Mudd some unflattering names.  A police officer – I don’t recall if it was a DPS officer or a City of Detroit police officer – told the guy to knock it off.  He took offense to being singled out of everyone in the area that was verbally abusing Mudd and the other Erie players.  The cop began flexing his power by saying he could have him removed from the stadium and arrested.  The fan persisted in questioning why him over everyone else.  For a moment I thought I was going to have to pull my business card out and offer it to the kid in the event the officer followed through.  Cooler heads prevailed.

Finally, at the conclusion of the match, I saw the bottle.  As the Erie players approached the Supporters’ section, clapping their hands above their heads, either as a taunt or as acknowledgement of our support for our team, a plastic water bottle flew from the section, hitting nothing but the ground.  Certainly not cool.  From what I recall, the matter was handled internally by the NGS and, as of this writing, no object has been thrown on the pitch at a DCFC match since.  (A beach ball, I believe, once escaped from the bleachers to the pitch, but that was purely accidental).

Not to make excuses, but it was our first defeat of the season.  The growing home fan base didn’t know how to react when Le Rouge lost a match.  It wasn’t in the early development of our DNA.  It, perhaps, could have been uglier.

It was a disappointing finale to such a perfect season.

Pre-Game

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Action

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(Comic) Book Review: Material Volume One

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I’m looking at the graphic novels in my to-read stack.  The genre of most graphic novels can be found on the back cover, near the UPC code and/or publisher’s logo.  For example, from my stack Grendel vs The Shadow is labeled “Comics & Graphic Novels/Crime & Mystery.” Sex Criminals: Volume Two is labeled “Science Fiction.”  C.O.W.L. Volume Two is labeled “Crime Fiction/Superhero.”  Lone Wolf & Cub Omnibus #9 is labeled “Graphic Novel/Manga/Action-Adventure.

Material Volume One is labeled “Literary Fiction.”

I had never seen that before, not that I had ever looked.  I went to the shelf and briefly looked through some of my other graphic novels.  Not even the few Adrian Tomine books I have read are labeled “literary.”

Literary fiction is what I read because that is what I prefer to write.  Novels that express ideas through its story and characters.  Material is such a comic book.

This first volume collects the first four issues of Ales Kot’s series which has four story lines running through it; Franklin, an African American boy, survives a police riot only to be interrogated and coerced into working for police against his family; Nylon, an actress whose career is on the cusp of ending, receives an offer for the role of her life; Adib, a Guantanmo Bay survivor, tries to adjust to freedom; and Julius, a philosophy professor, is prodded into deep reflection from an artificial intelligence that speaks to him through his computer.  Each thread reveals something material about our world and how we live today.  These stories play out in two-page increments throughout.

In this volume, The Guardian journalist Spencer Ackerman writes a foreward with the important title “Always read the footnotes.”  Throughout this work there are a number of footnotes that relate to the two-page sequence in the given character’s storyline.  For example, during most of Franklin’s story the names of African Americans killed by police officers appear along the bottom of the page.  Quotes and references to plays, novels, and nonfiction works provide further material to compliment the scenes above them.

Each issue of the comic book ended with a brief essay, which are also collected in this volume.  The four essays address the four story lines.  “Future Present” by Fiona Duncan is about the writer’s discovery of Franco “Bifo” Berardi, the Italian Marxist theorist who she sees similarities of in Julius’ character.  “How the DMV lost my change of address” by Jarett Kobek discusses his favorite three pages of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s  Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, where torture became policy because success was defined based on the results that Patient Zero – Abu Zabaydah – did not have any information to give up.  Torture was its own measure of success.  “Lindsay” by Sarah Nicole Prickett, is about Lindsay Lohan and the stigma of red-haired women.  “Convulsions Among the Lilies” by Bijan Stephen provides insight on being an African American male in the United States.

Will Tempest’s illustrations provide narrative power to the story.  The two-page scene with Adib and his wife’s dog in the second chapter is emotionally tense and liberating.

I had read the first three issues in comic book form until I cancelled my subscription of it at my local comic book store (Comix Corner at Masonic and Utica).  Not because I didn’t like the book, but because I saw that this was a series that would be bound in trade paperback form, the way I now prefer to read my comics.  I almost want to restart the subscription because this is such a good comic.  But more insight is obtained by reading the series as a complete whole.  I’m eager to see where else Kot and Tempest go with this work of  literary fiction.

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July 13, 2013: AFC Cleveland (NPSL Midwest Great Lakes Division Semi Final)

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July 13, 2013
Detroit City FC 3, AFC Cleveland 1
DCFC Kevin Taylor (PK) 37′
DCFC Zach Myers (Miche’le Lipari) 49′
AFCC Vinny Bell (PK) 61′
DCFC Knox Cameron (Fabio Pereira) 74′
Attendance:  2,634.

The playoffs.  Win, and we play the next day against the winner of the FC Buffalo-Erie Admirals match.  Lose, and it’s over.  A record-smashing crowd of 2,634 watched as Le Rouge advance.

Pre-Game

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Action

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GOAL!
Zach Myers!

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Cleveland’s Vinny Bell cuts DCFC’s lead
with a penalty kick goal.

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Knox Cameron’s goal seals the deal.

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