Maybe you've heard, Sporting Kansas City will begin the 2011 season with a remarkable 10-game road trip that will encompass more than 80 days and just over 9,000 air miles.
For the team, this is a journey that very well could determine how the rest of the season will shake out. For the fans, this is three month bout of foreplay until finally seeing them in person on June 9.
It's during and from these sort of trying times that sports bring us unique bonding rituals worth copying: Rally caps, lucky shirts, special songs and, my personal favorite, the playoff beard.
The playoff beard is a hockey tradition that has bled out to basketball (see Kansas State's Jacob Pullen ), baseball ( see Giants closer Brian Wilson ), football (Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Denver's Jake Plummer did it a few years ago) and soccer ( the Houston Dynamo did it during the 2006 and 2007 MLS Cup playoffs
The playoff beard has also bled out to fans too. NPR featured some St. Louis Cardinals fans who grew supportive beards during the 2006 World Series run. Personally, I grow a playoff beard to support the Pittsburgh Penguins just on my own.
As a sign of fan support as Sporting Kansas City embarks on the longest road trip in MLS history, I'm throwing out the idea of growing Road Trip Beards. (Let's show St. Louis that KC can do soccer and beards better.)
Sporting Kansas City players are Graham Zusi and Luke Sassano are on board. They have both begun their Road Trip Beards and have agreed to shave before the home opener.
I shaved yesterday before Media Day, and I won't shave the beard off (I'll likely trim it a little so I don't get fired or divorced) until June 9 too.
That's three of us in. Who else?
The team is also going to jump in with us, helping to sponsor some fan-voting contests (best beard, most creative facial hair, length of beard, stamina and duration of beard, etc.) on Facebook. (Those details will come out as we get closer to summer.) For now, if you're down with the beards, let me know in the comments.
Looking around at the last few SKC fan outings, I've noticed that there are a lot of you who are willing to let the beard-flag fly. But if beards aren't your thing, a mustache will work (bonus points if you go for theRaymond Dommench ). A goatee will work (though some fellow fans might punch you if you grow out the Alexi Lalas ). Heck, I'd even settle for the David Beckham perpetual-hipster stubble
However, I will personally purchase anyone a beverage of their choice if they grow out anAbel Xavier and keep it until opening day.
To inspire you to greatness with your folic choices, here are my favorite soccer beards.Socrates George Best Christoph Metzelder Ben Olsen Paul Breitner Thierry Henry Rudi Voller More Abel Xavier