“Die-hards” Heart of the Team or Pain in the Butt?

I have yet to figure out how to add a byline to photo, let it be stated though that the beautiful photo above is from G. Newman Lowrance/Kansas City Wizards. If you are looking for a great photographer, click on his name to go to his website. You may also click the photo above to see a larger version. Thanks for the use of your photo.

I’ve been watching a few conversations play out recently in the comments here and on other sites. Some are self proclaimed “die-hards” who have decided that it is their job to determine who and what kind of fan is wanted at the games. The exact phrase was, “If you don’t want to drive the 15 minutes to get from your house in Olathe, we don’t want you anyway.” This was in response to another fan who is not part of the inner circle of Cauldron members expressing that he thinks Olathe/Overland Park would be a better location for the stadium. While CM and others are free to have any opinion they wish it got me thinking about a larger issue. Are KC Wizards “die-hards” the heart of the team or are the merely a pain in the butt? Do they draw people into the team or drive people away?

On the one hand it is the so called, “die-hards” who bring an amazing atmosphere of chanting and flags and confetti to the games each week. They log on to online forums and discuss the team all year long even when the biggest news is rumors of new players and what the new jerseys might look like. These are fans who will be at almost every game of the season including pre-season and Open Cup. My experience this past season is that their is a sense of passion for the game seen in the Argentines who marched in to the matches a few minutes late each game and filled the home side with genuine passion for the Wizards as they rhythmically bang drums and chant in a way I’ve never seen before. This along with the Cauldron weirdos who wear scarfs in the summer great hats and paint helps create an atmosphere of excitement from whistle to whistle. This sort of activity is seen in die-hard groups across MLS and increasingly in KC as well. But if what the die-hards bring to the game day experience were the only thing at stake I would not be asking the question in the title, Die-hards, heart of team or pain in the butt?

What I am thinking about is what the front office thinks of this often helpful, but high maintenance group of fans. I think the Cauldron has many good qualities as mentioned above. In my conversations with one of the founders, Sam, I can see that he is really all about the Wizards and that many others are as well. I also believe deep down that given a little change of attitude by a few jerks this group could be the community ambassadors of the Wizards wherever they live. However, currently many (not all) are simply whinny pains in the butt. I feel I am constantly reading someone complaining about the location of the cauldron, or the price of tickets to sit in the cauldron or them wanting know why the FO makes any decision without first consulting each member of Cauldron as though the FO were in business to build the biggest supporters group in the league rather than make money and win championships. In a sense, a group created to passionately support the team has turned its focus to passionately support itself and for this reason I can’t help, but think it has become a pain in the FO’s butt like someone struggling to keep his high maintenance girlfriend happy all the time. So what am I suggesting?

First I imagine many of you will get ticked off at me and tell me how stupid this site is and how you will never read it again followed by an explanation of how you wouldn’t let me join the Cauldron. Once you get that out of your system let me suggest a few things.

1. Put the team before the Cauldron. What I mean is quite asking for discounts simply because you are “die-hards.” Your money helps the team. Get there and chant, create the atmosphere, but make it genuine and organic like the Argentines. Love the team, love the game and quit whining about how the FO has treated you so poorly and needs to have everything approved by the Cauldron.

2. Quit being such jerks. When someone shares an opinion don’t jump all over him. They are obviously fans if they are posting on a blog that covers nothing but the Wizards. The key to MLS and the Wizards making it long term is to break into main stream culture. What I mean is for people who aren’t weirdos to love the team and follow the team and come to games and bring their families and friends. But who wants to bring anyone to hangout with a bunch of jerks. So simply stop being a jerk, this doesn’t apply to all. Let me add, the Dynamo have created an environment where crazies and normal people mix together with the crazies talking suburbanite fans into putting on paint and it has paid off as they have such a good time many return having been converted as crazies.

3. Take part in building the brand. Get out to community events, fund raisers, etc. Use your talents to create Wizards themed things. Good at graphics? make wallpapers, good a photography, take pictures and make them available to people to print. Good are painting? Paint something. Music your thing? Write a chant, make a fun song about the team/players. Can you write? Do so, I’ve made it clear in the past that I wish this blog to be community minded meaning, if you don’t want to start your own blog, but have something to say every so often submit it and I’ll post it here. Do stupid things that help promote the team. If you are good at finding news, I’d love to have someone post links to Wizards related news here on a regular basis. If that interest you, when you get over being ticked off let me let me know.

Finally, I am aware this is a complaint about complaining, guess I’m a hypocrite, but I mean for it to be constructive. To improve a group that has the potential to truly be The Heart of the Team.

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37 Responses

  1. I hate you, I’m never read this blog again and can’t be part of the Cauldron! Just kidding. While I don’t agree with all of this you are right on in many regards. There are some jerks, but what are we supposed to do about that? I love sitting in the Cauldron, I don’t complain about seat prices, I don’t care if we sit on grass or nice seats, I don’t care if we build a stadium in the suburbs or the ghetto. I can’t change everyone though.

  2. I think the FO appreciates us much more than you think. They should care what we think as we are like a voting block, if we are not able to afford tickets then there is no supporters group or at best a little one and that will leave the stadium without a festive environment. You must not be part of it cause you clearly don’t understand.

  3. I never post, but I must say I agree with you. I’ve thought about sitting with the Cauldron, but they are always shouting such vulgar stuff at the other teams players that there is no way I’ll do it. I’m rather ashamed of being a fan sometimes when I think that puts me in the same category as some of the guys in the Cauldron.

  4. No one is making you sit with the Cauldron, it is not designed for families. There are tons of sections to sit in if you don’t want to hear swear words. Interesting though there was an article written recently about how MLS does a better job going after young 20s in the city than they do families in the suburbs as far as their regular attendance. I agree there should be a place where kids can go and not hear stuff, but the Cauldron is not that place. Both types of locations can exist you know.

    That is until we take over the whole stadium. 🙂

  5. Pain in the butt is too strong — the cauldron has helped staff t-shirt giveaway promotions, traveled to away games to support the team, provides a tailgate open to all Wizards fans, and the list goes on. Nevertheless, i think high maintenance is a fair representation. There is a certainly a sense of entitlement and elitism that goes with being such dedicated fans and sometimes that is exercised more flagrantly than others. Bottom line, right now with a temporary stadium is unchartered territory for both sides — cauldron and the front office. There is going to be some give and take, but in the end, even if a few feelings get hurt along the way, the team will always be first in everyone’s eyes.

  6. I always try to sit close to the cauldron.
    its part of the ambiance I hope to experience… just my 2 cents from a new fan, as of last season.

  7. It is refreshing to read this kind of article. If nothing else, it will at least get members of note in the Cauldron thinking about how their attitude reflects on others and reflects the organization as a whole. Nobody’s asking anbody to change, just be aware of life outside of the Cauldron and beyond yourself. And if you’re a true Die-Hard, does seating location, $$$, etc. really matter that much anyway? (Yes it does, but you know what I’m talking about)

  8. The Cauldron cares about the Cauldron. There are passionate fans, but there are many who want to be told over and over how great they are, and how the players love them, and how the team couldn’t ever survive with out them, which, by the way, the team doesn’t need at all.

  9. I think that is Oz’s point, the Cauldron has lost it’s original purpose and needs to get back to its roots.

  10. Since you published one of my photos on this site of yours, I am compelled to post a comment about the misuse of that photo. Before you reached that specific photo on our YCJ Footy Photo Service web site, you were presented with this copyright warning: “Republishing images from this site in any form without license or permission is copyright infringement.”

    You received neither a license nor permission to use the photo in question. How do I know that? Because you NEVER asked me for permission to use that photo. Since my email link is clear and easy to access on our YCJ site, and since I have raised this issue to you prior to this incident, I can only conclude you have no intention of seeking permission to use other people’s property.

    Given that attitude, I am requesting that you immediately REMOVE my photo and any and all other Yellow Card Journalism photos which you have not asked for and obtained permission to republish on your site(s).

    Don’t wait. Do it NOW! Copyright infringement can/will get ugly.

  11. This is just the type of person I’m thinking of when I say, “jerk” and that people are quite self obsessed.
    First let me explain the process I went through to get “your” photo. I did a Google image search which brought up “your” picture, I then right clicked and said view picture in firefox. I could see it was hosted by a site called jumpcut which if you look into it you will learn is all about taking someone else’s work and editing it in a personal way. I’ll have you know that I have not saved that photo to my hard drive, nor have I hosted it on any account of my own. The website hosting it is below
    http://www.jumpcut.com/view/?id=C660C3D84E6F11DCB930000423CEF682

    If you have trouble with the link simple search, “cauldron wizards” in Google images.

    If you notice on that website there is no copyright, nor copyright warning, there is no email only a name for a user named farmwithnick. Which leads me to wonder, how do I even know this is your photo? Your being a jerk leads me to think that it may be, but I really can’t be sure. Perhaps I’ll wait and see how ugly copyright infringement gets with whoever farmwithnick is as I ponder why you have yet to get onto him for hosting your photo without permission. In the mean time quit being a selfish jerk and be happy that anyone is viewing your photo (if it is your photo) at all.
    Nice work to whoever took this by the way. It does a good job of showing the passion the Cauldron brings to the game, perhaps Wade is one of the bad apples giving you a bad name.
    So, if you really want the photo removed let me suggest you get farmwithnick to quit hosting it in public domain, then myself and others won’t be able to link to it. But so that you can have credit for “your” genuinely good photo, let it be said here that Wade took it.

    Seriously though, you’ve got to loosen up, it is not like I’m making money off the use of this photo. Given the option of paying to use it and not using it, I’d go with not using it.

  12. Hm, I think you are letting a outspoken few become a broad view of … the cauldron. It’s pretty much like racism. Hey, that one fan did this… all the rest that stand must be the same.

    Hm, what’s funny is you say “like the Argentines”… you mean the ones that only paid when forced to? That expected free tickets else they’d not bring their atmosphere to the game? You should know what you are talking about before you write it.

    Also I think you confuse Big Soccer with the cauldron…most of the assholes that jump all over someone new, well, they don’t stand in the cauldron. Again, get it right.

    For your third part… um sorry, but there ARE people that stand in the Cauldron that get out to events. Maybe YOU should get to know who they are.

  13. I think you may have missed that I like what the Cauldron brings to the games and you are right there are a few outspoken people who can give the group a bad name, but its not me giving them a bad name, just read some of the comments above. You are right in my thinking that many of the jerks on Big Soccer are cauldron members, so I admit there may some error in the thinking there. As far as the third part, I’m not saying they don’t so much as I am encouraging more to do so. This is not about bashing the Cauldron so much as it is encouraging them to be aware of their being in many ways ambassadors of the team and to hope that self awareness moves the group to become the best supporters group in the league.
    I don’t know if you intended to sound upset with the Argentines or not, but I think they do bring a great atmosphere to the games. They are to the Cauldron like gas on a fire. As far as getting in without paying, I was unaware of that if it is true. I’d be interested to know how they managed to get in without paying though. Please don’t read this as me getting on to you, typing lacks tone and mine is not in any way rude or sarcastic with you. Wade yes, but not you.

  14. You asked on big soccer for you to simply be given credit, I’ve given you credit at the bottom of the post now. Please pursue Farming with nick on this now.

  15. Argies absolutely bring great atmosphere to the games… I moved over by them in the Cauldron last year because there are a lot of Cauldronites that stand there like lumps and I wanted more jumping/singing… I am not upset with them…if I could get in for free I’d probably do it 🙂 … I just wanted to point out that some were only there to get in for free… by the end of the season they were paying and I prefer to have the ones that want to be there, be there, and for them to pay too.

    I hope they are in the Cauldron again this year and I expect they will be.

    keep the articles coming.

  16. Um….not all die hards are members of the Cauldron.

  17. A little bit of research could go a long way. Hey you are on the right track though keep it up and I am sure you will be working for the KC Star in no time.
    Does the section have some issues? Sure it does. Show me a SC that doesn’t have any issues?

    Memo to AP. What do you think a Supporters section is? A bunch of hand sitters like you. Have you ever watched or been to a game anywhere else in the world. The main goal for the SC is to support the team and create and atmosphere for the games. That might mean yelling at the other team getting in their heads (hopefully). Ask Oswaldo Sanchez about it after the US vs Mexico game in C-bus a few years ago. I am sorry you don’t get it and like many people have said before SC are not for everyone. If you chose to bring yourself or family there I do hope you relize what you are getting into. I have brought my family to every game and we always stand in the cauldron.

  18. “If you notice on that website there is no copyright, nor copyright warning, there is no email only a name for a user named farmwithnick. Which leads me to wonder, how do I even know this is your photo?”

    Even the most casual of users can see that there is a watermark and credit in the lower left hand corner.

  19. This is a great post by Oz.

    As one post has already said- the Cauldron cares about the Cauldron. I’m the one who was told “we don’t need you” because I thought Bannister was bad idea.

    Oz, keep up the good work and let the crazies go somewhere else to live their lives of strange devotion.

  20. Excellent post by the sitemaster.

    I’m all for keeping a section, like the Cauldron. It’s fine for people to gett hyped up and do their thing over there. Frankly, I don’t think they care much about soccer.

    I’ve been near the Cauldron during a game, many of the participants don’t seem to really follow the game. They are there just to be part of the Cauldron. They could be watching a curling match or badmitton, the game isn’t really the issue. For them, it seems to be a matter of belonging to something. Good for them, if that’s what they need. They can go for it in their own section, I’ll ignore them while I take in the game.

    If die hard means Cauldron, no thanks.

    I love soccer, the Wizards, and taking in a game. I just think it’s funny that a bunch of rowdies (which is fine..go for it) who barely pay attention to the game are die hard, and I am not.

    Whatever. Some people need a life.

  21. On big soccer Kopiteinkc and Soccer 7947 are threatening to not read Oz City due to the photo issue, so let me post here a response as well as there.

    As far as your threats to not read the blog because I used a picture without permission, which by the way is now said in the post clearly to belong to Wade Jackson. Fine, I really don’t care if you read it or not. Let me remind you, I don’t get paid by you reading it, I don’t have some need of people to read it to feel important. I would much rather someone else provide the news and my just checking it every day to see what is going on with my team. So please, don’t read it, start a boycott for all I care. But at the very least don’t make stupid threats, just don’t read it.

  22. futuregrace:

    You said I threatened not to read your blog on bigsoccer..

    Here is my post from BS:
    >>>
    I like the concept of your blog and I like the different story approaches you are taking. It is a nice contrast to Downthebyline. Different approaches, wider discussion, all good.

    In fact I like your recent questioning of the Cauldron on your blog. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it s good to have that insight, generate discussion, argument, debate. What else are gonna do in the off season

    But violating copyright after it has been pointed out to you leaves a sour taste. I want to read your blog, I want to take your opinions seriously and debate with other fans. But your attitude on the copyright is rather dismissive and makes me less likely to read your blog and not take you seriously.
    <<<<

    Not imflammatory and not a threat. The phrase “makes me less likely to read your blog and not take you seriously” is hardly a threat

    There is some exaggeration on your part here. I am not sure why the copyright thing is so hard to understand. It’s illegal. I don’t know wade personally, but a professional should be credited for his work.

    You have added that now. End of discssion.

    I am still reading 🙂

  23. I apologize for misunderstanding you.

  24. Back to your subject in hand

    The Cauldron pain in the butt, more trouble than their worth?

    As a Cauldron go-er I feel a bit defensive. But I get where you are coming from.

    It’s hard not to take comments like that personally and get defensive. Particularly when many Cauldron go-ers don’t know you or where the criticism is coming from.

    I will say that your comment has some validity. There are some people in the Cauldron who are a pain in the bum. I am sure there are people in other sections of the stadium that are a pain too.

    However, I am not sure all in the Cauldron should be tarred with the same brush. We didn’t all show up one day and say “we are the Cauldron”

    Many of us did not know each other before and have met through the Cauldron. So it has developed organically without much of a strategy or plan to it. When you develop like that youm ix all kinds of styles and personalities. That causes tension, rifts and anxiety.

    As the group gets larger and includes La Porra and the Outlaws it becomes even more splintered and therefore more tension arises.

    So discussing the issues surrounding the Cauldron is good, self examination is good. But there is no set agenda, I know there a couple of people in the Cauldron (and I have been in there a while) that have expressed a sense of “we are better than other fans” — but there are also Cauldron go-ers like me and others who don’t agree with that.

    We are a very mixed bag, we come at from all over the metro with very different perspectives. We are not ONE, we are many and our opinions vary. In a way there is no “Cauldron” policy, Cauldron-think or Cauldron-attitude. Rather there are 500 competing policies, thinks and attitudes.

    Which leads to lots of discourse, debate and argument. But it our passion for the game and for the Wizards that unites us and all Wizards supporters.

  25. Die hard or “hand sitter,” the point is we are all supporters of the same team. Why does it matter? The people in the KC area that ARE soccer fans and that AREN”T coming out to games are the ones that are holding the team back. If someone buys a ticket, it’s their decision how to use it. Why alienate people striving for the same thing you are?

  26. Kop, The whole point Oz is making in this post is that since you have united as a group, you represent the Wizards as a group and thus need to be aware of your effect on the others coming to games. If you really are all about the Wizards and I believe many of you are then the team should be more important than the supporters group. The supporters group serves the team rather than being the high maintenance girlfriend who is never happy.

    It is kinda ironic how much time people on big soccer (largely Cauldron members as well) criticize the Front Office and the team and complain about tickets and location and why don’t you have signs promoting the Cauldron, etc. and now one whacked out guy turns to examine and question and even criticize the Cauldron and everyone turns defensive attacking the guy. I bet the FO is laughing their heads off at seeing the tables turned for once.

    Really the only way to respond is to stop and ask the question, as a supporters group how can support this team we claim to love so much? It will start with making the team the focus again. Reflection is good, don’t beat the guy up holding the mirror, he may just reveal there is a huge bugger hanging from your nose.

  27. Good comments Marty.

    I think if you read my post again, you will see that I agree that this self reflection is necessary and that criticism is warranted. But to think there is one way that the Cauldron thinks is wrong.

    We have organized as a group, that doesn’t mean we all think alike.

    The focus should be the team we love and I believe my last paragraph in my original post says that.

  28. There’s a pretty deep irony between the question the title of this post asks and the reaction of quite a few people in the posts…I think the answer to the post’s question is pretty clear.

  29. Heart of the League

  30. YCJ is against supporters groups and ultras. They are more than happy to take pictures of us to make a PROFIT on but the minute WE turn around and use them for the purposes of attracting other supporters to help built the sport in this country they want to sue.They can suck it. They are what is wrong with this sue-happy country which wants to legislate fun out of existance and control you at every cost for PROFIT. They are what are preventing the worlds game from being embraced on a greater level.

  31. This is not the first time they threatened someone either. Ignore them. I did.

  32. “Anonymous”… you so funny.

  33. is this fox news?

  34. If anyone has a picture of the cauldron they would be willing to let me use, please send me the photo or a link to it. Thank you.
    kansascitywizards@live.com

  35. […] by futuregrace There is now a photo on the Die-hard Fans, Heart of Team or Pain in the Butt post, click here to check it out, great photo and big thanks to G. Newman Lowrance for the use of this photo. You can also visit his […]

  36. I remember when Wade tried to make money off Sams Army by monopolizing a relationship with a scarf manufacturer, and not helping out fellow supporters by sharing the info. He charged a 75% markup and insisted any customizing be handled through him. A real greedy [poor] move. It wasn’t hard to find out who the scarf company was, and when they found out how Wade was trying to play middleman, they were [upset], and gave us a 15% break under the cost they charged Wade if we put their name out there.

  37. I can’t really say whether they help the team or not. I’m not from KC, so I don’t get up there very often for games. I’ve only been to 1, in fact. The one game that I went to was amazing. It was the game where EJ scored his second straight hat trick and we beat NY 3-2. I loved the Cauldron during that game simply for their atmosphere. I loved the chant at the end of the game. “NO MORE RED BULLS! (clap, clap, clapclapclap) NO MORE RED BULLS! (clap, clap, clapclapclap)” That was great. Also, before the game, I emailed them about getting a scarf (simply because I wanted to support the ultras group) and I was emailed back clear instructions on how to get one, and I got a beautiful scarf that I treasure to this day. I plan on wearing it to every game I go to.

    I’ve never really had any negative experiences with the Cauldron, so i can’t say whether or not they are a bad influence for the team, but I do know one thing: Maybe this makes me weird, but I wouldn’t want to go to a game that didn’t have the Cauldron at it, even if I’m not a part of it. Somebody needs to be chanting, because it makes such a great atmosphere.

    I agree that this isn’t for everybody (my dad wouldn’t do it for sure), but I think that if the Cauldron is there, they help make the atmosphere for everybody else. They break the ice and help people enjoy the game. They might drive some people off, but I don’t know how. My dad doesn’t like soccer all that much (he only went because I bugged him for weeks about it), and he conceded that the Cauldron really added to the game. They made the game fun to watch. He even got up and clapped a bit with them. Nobody on our side of Arrowhead did anything except us, and a few people around us, but it was still fun.

    In any case Oz (futuregrace, I assume), I love this place. It gives me good news all the time. Any photos I take are yours for the using, but don’t expect them often.

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