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The Rapids' Identity: Not the Cool Kids on the Block--and That's OK

Rapids' fans often lament that we aren't Seattle, New York, or LA--a.k.a., the MLS Cool Kids on the Block. But let's not sweat that.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

This happens in every station of life, having that guy or that woman overdoing it by being the 'cool guy' in the room that's not nor will ever be the cool guy.  Even pastors, who try to connect with folks outside the church, overdo it by trying to be the 'cool pastor' at the cool church in how they dress, how they talk, everything!  It's not only laughable, it's disingenuous and inauthentic.  And ultimately, it's counterproductive to whatever that 'cool-but-not-cool guy' is trying to accomplish.

I hear Colorado Rapids fans wishing that we were Seattle, New York, or Los Angeles or 'x.'  Denver is not a place that appeals more than the previous three mentioned.  We will not have New York or LA's money, we will not have New York or LA's culture. The verdict is out as to whether we will ever match Seattle's game atmosphere (and you've got to admit, that's impressive. The Sounders are #2 in the Seattle pecking order in the sports world behind the Seahawks, whereas the Rapids are likely #5 after the Broncos, Rockies, Avs, and Nuggets.).

Pablo Mastroeni in his postgame comments after the Galaxy game still alluded to trying to find their identity.  I know some are ready to move on from Pablo, but I believe the dissenters are decreasing.  Pablo saying that at the end of 2014 is received differently from Pablo saying that in 2015 when, I believe, clear improvement is evident.  But the identity should not be compared to the identity of the 'cool kids.' We need an identity that is ours.

For instance, we may wish KSE would infuse more money like the LAs or the NYs.  That doesn't mean a better product on the field (just ask NYCFC or Orlando City SC). You still have to use the money you have well, regardless of how deep the pockets are. That's not always the clear-cut answer.  And, again, we're not #1 or #2 in the Denver chain--we're not even on the medal stand in the hearts of Coloradoans.

The quickest way to any kind of discontentment is wishing we were what we're not in regards to cash or atmosphere yet.  We cannot be Seattle East or Galaxy East.  We are the Colorado Rapids who have to (and I would suggest, are) developing an identity.  And we cannot say with a straight face that the Rapids' front office aren't working like dogs to improve the product on the field (just ask the entire population of Argentina).  Yes, we hold them accountable with our dollars and engaging them (respectfully) with our thoughts.

But let's make sure the Spring, Summer, and Autumn of our discontent is not comparing ourselves to the Cool Kids. We don't hang out with them right now--nor should we seek to.  Great strides have been taken from 2014 to 2015.  Coach Pablo is finding his coaching stride.  The team is markedly more competitive this season than last.  Let's hope the Rapids find their own identity.  That should be our expectation as well.