Is it 2015 yet? No matter how I bemoaned this season and found myself ready for 2014 to be over, I miss my spot in the South Stands. I'm having Burgundy Withdrawals.
Yet, no matter how strong the fandom of our Rapids faithful, our hope is that 2015 will be better that 2014 (it has to be, right?)--and if not, I'm saddened to say that their faithfulness will deteriorate with each passing week. With so many other sports teams here in Denver vying for their attention, the Rapids need to have some hard, crucial conversations about what to do next.
In fact, I've been reading through a book called Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes are High. When conversations come to the point of 'crucial,' three things are in play: opposing opinions, strong emotions, and high stakes. The point of the book is that often when we are needed most, we act our worst. We fail to speak up when we need to, we listen to other opinions, and don't grow defensive when those opinions differ from yours.
I am not privy to the conversations in the Rapids front office--nor do I care to be. They have more knowledge about the game and about finances than I have. Factors come into play that I, as a casual fan who happens to blog about a sport and a team I love, would never realize.
But I wonder about the atmosphere of the front office for two reasons. Again, I have no knowledge as to whether these things are so--but I have concerns regarding some of the symptoms surrounding the club.
- The defensiveness of CEO Tim Hinchey, as displayed by his Twitter Battle with Bianchi, makes me wonder if he can take other people's opinions, even those of his closest advisers. Does Hinchey and the front office listen to varying opinions? Does Hinchey have someone in the front office to speak hard but helpful truths to him? I certainly hope so. No one man has all the answers.
- Whether the ownership is too spread out for their teams to move past mediocrity. Along with owning the Rapids, they own the Denver Nuggets (NBA), the Colorado Avalanche (NHL), the Colorado Mammoth (NLL), the St. Louis Rams (NFL) and the largest shareholder for Arsenal (Go Gunners!). While money runs a-plenty, crucial conversations are needed to put the shareholders and season-ticket holders at ease that the goal is not simply to make a profit but to produce a consistent winner. Where do the Rapids fit into the plans among the Nuggets, Rams, Mammoth? Frankly, fans want to know they matter and that the teams matter to their owners.