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Clear & Obvious: Welcome to Clear and Obvious

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Absolutely no one asked. Absolutely a few people delivered against your best interests.

Welcome to Clear and Obvious. A new section of Dirty South Soccer dedicated to separating ourselves as far from the actual journalism done at Dirty South Soccer as possible.

I imagine, right now, you must be feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole.

Or more accurately, you probably feel more like Carlos Valderrama in the picture above this.

You’re hot, tired, staring into the sun, wearing a horrific combination of colors and geometry, and genuinely unsure what you’re doing here but you’re going to at least try and soft smile through it. And that’s good! Because we’re also hot tired, staring into the sun, wearing a horrific combination of colors and geometry, and genuinely unsure what we’re doing here but we’re going to at least try and soft smile through it. Because this is the indomitable spirit of Clear and Obvious. And if you also relate to Carlos Valderrama staring into the sun on the cover of the first ever Tampa Bay Mutiny media guide, you’re going to feel at home here.

Since DSS and Rob Usry let me, for some unknown reason, begin writing for the site two years ago, I’ve been fortunate enough to be allowed to write some Extremely Weird Nonsense. Whether this is because Rob (and later Joe Patrick) thought it was good or if it was just extreme editorial oversight is still highly unclear. Either way, I did it and some of you liked it and some of you rightly told me it was a waste of time and some of you were Orlando fans and you in particular were Big Mad. I enjoyed writing those things, but the thing was, I always felt kind of bad for dragging DSS down with me.

DSS meaning: Joe and Rob’s excellent reporting and blogging and editing, Mouths of the South putting together a got dang hour and a half of quality podcast content on Atlanta United each week, Sydney Hunte getting every single piece of Five Stripes news out there he can, Tiotal Football making charts no one understands but feels smarter for having witnessed, Josh Bagriansky writing top notch tactical breakdowns, Haris Kruskic getting the lineup prediction wrong, Jesmary Lorenzo getting mad enough in the Slack to set everyone in their place both in and outside of said Slack, Payson Scwhin asking us to check out De’s Nugs, Parker Cleveland being too brilliant for his own good, and so many other people who have made indisputably excellent things for a website run by what amounts to volunteers who just love soccer, the city of Atlanta, and the incredible community that both of those things have combined to create.

It’s not that the bizarre stuff felt entirely out of place in the midst of all that, it just didn’t feel at home. Like your weird friend who comes over and takes your food and leaves the plates they used to eat the food out in sink. You weren’t like, upset, because he definitely entertained you and he’s great...so...awes......yeah he’s great, but things were definitely a bit more out of place than they were before that friend showed up and, compared to everything else, that was kind of unsettling. Well, good news again! That weird friend has his own place to mess up now. And that place is here. You’re in it. Right now. You probably didn’t even notice you were standing in a half eaten pizza this whole time.

Clear and Obvious will be our place for all the strange things that float through our mind about MLS (not just Atlanta!) that we never really had a space for on DSS or anywhere else.

For now, it will be just me, the aforementionedly brilliant Parker Cleveland, and a couple of other DSS folks spewing insanity but the hope is that it grows bigger than that. Because the thing about aging Colombian superstar Carlos Valderrama staring into the sun on the cover of the first ever media guide for a team branded as — and we quote from an MLS press release — “what its creators call a cyber-mutant from the dark blue depths of space...soccer reaching the fourth dimension” is that said picture is objectively hilarious and deserves to celebrated by MLS fans everywhere as much as it deserves to be made fun of. Which is a lot.

MLS has been one of the most delightfully bizarre organizations in the world since its inception and once it has grabbed you with a 4-3 cluster of a game that involves immensely famous people on the same field as dudes who just graduated from Syracuse all attempting to play at the same level of soccer and succeeding to varying degrees on fields that range from Galactic Space Station to re-purposed baseball field, it’s not going to let go. You’re on this roller coaster for as long as it goes and there’s an honest to god possibility someone just forgot to lay track down in this next turn. Who knows?

All you know is that you’re enjoying it way more than you thought you would and you probably even love it. And like all things you probably even love, you’re going to make fun of it. Because the best way to tell something you would do anything for it is to notice the little things it does that make you happy and articulate them from your heart.

If you’re still here, you’re a part of that now. Anything you see with the Clear and Obvious tag (or under our fancy new Clear and Obvious vertical that you can find and click on at the top of DSS or at the lower section of the front page) should probably clue you in that you’re in for something different, possibly unsettling, maybe even funny and definitely out of love. And like all things that are somewhat different, possibly unsettling, maybe even funny and definitely out of love, the hope exists that a community will grow from that.

You are now Carlos Valderrama staring into the sun, totally unsure of what you’re doing here and what your future holds, and so are we.

Life is hard. Soccer is harder. Let’s make some jokes.