Switchbacks FC

So, get this, the family of one of our friends owns a sports team in town. They’re called the Colorado Springs Switchbacks and they’re a football (soccer, but that’s incorrect) team. I had no idea about this ownership until a couple of weeks back, which has me wondering what other business ventures my loved ones are involved in. Do I have an uncle who owns a space program? A childhood friend who runs a brothel in Amsterdam? Perhaps a distant second cousin who’s president of a small but affluent nation?

This friend scored us some free tickets, and we were escorted to his family’s private seating area. Away from the riff-raff rabble of normal, decent, hard-working people, who’re all better than me in every possible way.

This was my first American sporting event, and I’m glad it was a sport that originated in England. It felt like a transitional moment, to ease me into the United Sports of America. From here, I’ll segue into a game of American football, before finding myself at basketball and baseball games. I don’t think I’ll be going to a donkey basketball game, or anything that’s so ridiculously American it sounds made up. Like ice-hockey.

Switchback: a 180° bend in a road or path, especially one leading up the side of a mountain.

An apt name for a Colorado team. The definition was explained to me during halftime, so I spent the first half mentally guessing what a switchback is. The Switchbacks’ mascot is a giant mountain goat named Ziggy. So I made the incorrect assumption that a switchback was some American species of goat. Something that my ancestors would’ve hunted to near extinction.

“The Switchback have all left this area, pa. We’ve hunted the last of them in these lands.”

“Not to worry son. There’s still plenty of North American Chocolate Rhino and Great Plains Orgasm Kangaroo. Yes my child, man will enjoy these delicious creatures for the next thousand years.”

I’m glad they decided to make the mascot a mountain goat, and not a 180 degree bend in a mountain road. Partly because the costume would be impossible to make, and also because it would constantly have to turn sharply, knocking over children from all directions. Ziggy the mountain goat seemed to be high energy and managed to avoid physically assaulting kids, which is always a bonus for a mascot. However, at no point did he wield a t-shirt cannon, which was a little disappointing for this Englishman. There’s some humour in the visuals of an anthropomorphic creature firing high-powered knitwear into the gizzards of adoring fans.

switchbacks
Ziggy, courtesy of switchbacksfc.com 

The only unsettling thing about Ziggy was the thought that, going from statistics, at least six members of the crowd were furries who wanted to have a go on him. Unless he wasn’t their type, of course. Which would be a bit harsh, as he was a very confident and outgoing mountain-goat. Listen up furries, just because a mascot doesn’t dress slutty, doesn’t mean you can’t find him attractive.

The game itself was a stalemate until the 86th minute. The Switchbacks looked strong defensively throughout the entire game, but didn’t make anything of a couple of first-half chances. Their set-pieces were on form, and they were unlucky with a couple of well-defended corner balls. Then, a free kick in the closing moments from Shane Malcolm, secured the 1-0 victory for the home team.

This was my first experience of Switchbacks football, so for all I know, Shane Malcolm is some kind of world-class soccer god who’s capable of completing every set-piece to perfection. The Switchbacks seem to be a classic mid-table team, who’re currently just qualifying for the playoffs with around half the season to go. These are the best teams to support, because they have the ability to do well, but aren’t so winning that everybody else loathes them.

It was great to be at a football game where the weather wasn’t overcast cloud accompanied by light showers. The sun shone until the final whistle, upon which fans from the opposite terrace flooded the pitch. I thought that this was a bit of an over-reaction for a 1-0 victory in a mid-season league game, but it turned out that they were making their way to the field for a post-match fireworks display.

The sun went down and the fireworks began. It was a classic 4-4-2 fireworks formation, with two rounds of mid-level explosions before a rapid-fire and grandiose finale.

We went for some post-game donuts at a place called Hurts Donuts, a newly built shop in Colorado Springs, from a franchise that the American contingent of our plucky group had enjoyed throughout college in Missouri. They lost their ever-loving shit when they saw the sign, and rightly so, because Hurts’ cake-based donuts are sickeningly delicious.

The company boasts an “emergency donut vehicle”, a converted ambulance, which I can only hope caters for more than just Type-1 diabetes sufferers. If I call 911 and ask for the donut division, will I be met with a timely dessert treat? Or just the unbridled fury of the regular police force?

That joke may well be offensive, but it’s entirely based off of consuming twenty-five years worth of American media. So you shot yourself in the foot with that one America, probably because you were busy eating donuts.

donut-delivery-truck
Image courtesy of Hurts Donut Company

I’m looking forward to going back to a Switchbacks game, it’s nice to have a local football team again, and one that’s just as frustrating to watch as Middlesbrough. Saturday saw the stadium have its first ever sell-out, which I’m going to take full credit for, despite us receiving a set of comped tickets.

It’s my hope that the team, league and American Soccer as a whole, continue to grow over the next eight years. It’d be great for Team USA to have plenty of wild football fans going into their very-own World Cup.

I’d also back a campaign for Ziggy to be the official mascot of the national team. He can head-butt the mascots of visiting countries, knocking them to the ground before climbing atop and teabagging them, with his newly sewn-on, gargantuan ballsack.

The action of teabagging can even become the official fan reaction of the 2026 tournament, like the wave or vuvuzelas. Thousands of Americans physically teabagging the supporters of visiting nations, just as the country does metaphorically to every other superpower.

Today is Sunday, June 24th and I’m all full of donuts, man.

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