Thursday, December 22, 2011

Good Luck Devon

Another poor season led to all kinds of casualties, many of whom were tough to see go, including: Marc Burch, the Terp who made the transition from attacker to unfairly maligned fullback; Santino Quaranta, the Baltimore-native who became the most popular D.C. United player over the last four years; and Clyde Simms, the classiest dude I've ever had the privilege to cheer for -- D.C. Scores' loss is unquestionably Boston's gain.

Of those let go, the hardest one to take is Devon McTavish, who announced his retirement from professional soccer today at the age of 27. Probably not a sentiment shared by a lot of United supporters, but McTavish was a major reason I became a committed fan of the team. Devon did everything asked of him and made the best of a thankless role.

I'd like to say that my lasting mental image of Devon was an unpleasantly cold March day at RFK back in 2008. McTavish's brace against Jamaica's Harbour View in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup was certainly unexpected, but no less so than how enjoyable the experience was for the fans who came out for the match.

But that's not it. What will stay with me is the scene outside of FedEx Field after the Real Madrid friendly. Throngs of fans had gathered to catch a glimpse of the Madristas' bus and as we walked back through them to get to our car, we ran into Devon navigating anonymously throw the crowd with a rolling carry-on bag behind him. If the contrast between the adulation showered on the Galacticos and the indifference shown him bothered McTavish, it wasn't evident. He just seemed to be enjoying the day.

It may be bizarre, but pointing out Devon to my eleven-month old daughter and exchanging a brief greeting is all I really remember about the game. I can think of no better demonstration of why I feel blessed to root for D.C. United and am not chomping at the bit to get into the Bernabeu.

Good luck Devon. Thank you.

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