The Lions have taken up residence in their new training facility, the coaching staff and players are ready, and frankly so am I. Our long dark tea time of the soul is nearly through, and the new season is just around the corner. Let’s see what got me going this week.
Preseason has arrived and Dom Dwyer is hungry. I’m not among the people who are mad at Dom for his performance last season. There were many factors that may have contributed, including Sydney Leroux being pregnant and delivering their second child, Roux James Dwyer. Sometimes players simply have a bad season or get in a slump. With all that, plus time missed injured, Dom was never able to fully recover from his dip in form until the end of the season, when he finished strong with two goals and an assist over his last three matches. I fully expect him to bounce back this season. He may not end up having a career year, but he should be back to double digit goals. He’s motivated to prove last year was a fluke, he will have better service from the players surrounding him, and he won’t be isolated as the only threat. I’ll even go as far as to predict 15 goals for him this season.
In the background of the preseason starting, there is the quiet specter of a potential player strike in Major League Soccer. It hardly gets mentioned, but the MLS Players Association and MLS are negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The current CBA runs out on Jan. 31, and a new one needs to be in place for the season to begin. Neither side wants there to be a work stoppage, but if they can’t come to terms that is what will happen — although the sides could agree to extend the current deal in the short term if they feel the negotiations are close. A lot has changed since the last CBA was agreed to in 2015. The league has grown, soccer in the U.S. is more popular than ever, and a breakdown at this point would be bad for a league trying to expand it’s reach both in North America and the world. I fully expect the parties will come to an agreement, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
As originally reported in The Athletic (paywall), David Beckham’s Inter Miami is in talks to have the State of Qatar as the club’s official sponsor. That would include stadium naming rights, jersey sponsorship, and so on. Needless to say, the backlash from newly minted Inter supporters was less than enthusiastic given the ongoing human rights issues the country is facing. Fans on Reddit reacted with near unanimous disapproval at the idea. One would have thought that someone with the organization might have clued Becks in on the possible bad press of having Qatar as the primary sponsor, especially given number of hurdles that the club has had to jump over the years. . Then again, money often drowns out good judgement.
Bonus section: The Sad
January is really starting to tick me off. First, we lost one of the greatest drummers of all time when Neil Peart passed away earlier this month. I won’t rehash that tragedy, but if you want a good read on it, check out Michael Citro’s blog here and here. On Tuesday, we lost another great performer. Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame, passed away at 77 years old. Jones had been diagnosed with dementia five years ago, so while it’s not entirely surprising, it still hit me a bit hard. I’m of an age that when Monty Python had a sort of resurgence in the late 80s, I was just finishing high school and devoured their comedy. The Welshman was an actor, writer, comedian, screenwriter, film director and historian. His talents will be missed.
I leave you with one of his more famous scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.