The Dark Clouds have been supporting soccer in Minnesota for a long time. And they have been doing so without the use of curse words.
During the match I attended on May 21, I didn’t hear a single F-bomb, not one swear tossed into a chant, and, even as calls failed to go their way, not one middle finger aimed toward the referees or opposing players. Minnesota nice prevailed.
When LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe struggled to keep his goalkicks on the pitch, a simple “Brian sucks!” chant failed to spread beyond a few participants, dying down almost immediately as some supporters remarked “not clever enough.” Instead, the Dark Clouds section would offer up remarks like “Nice try Brian!” or prod him with calls of “Brian, Brian, give us a wave” or a long drawn out “Brrrrriiiiiaaaaaaaaannnnnnnn.”
And, when the netminder finally kept a long ball on the pitch, the section erupted in sarcastic cheers and applause. It was hilarious.
To an outsider like me, it seemed the Dark Clouds don’t take themselves too seriously. And it works for them.
While I laugh at a “F*** Don Garber!” remark as much as the next guy, chants like that and “You suck a******!” are, in my opinion, lowest-common denominator. When a supporters group like the Dark Clouds strives for creativity and wit — all without the aid of curse words — I can’t help but applaud their effort.
Now, I don’t believe in a right or wrong way for fans to support their club. It is entirely dependent on the supporters themselves, the club, its culture, and a whole host of other variables. In some places, vulgarity is the norm. It can be used to intimidate rivals, provoke others, or emphasize a strong stance on particular issues. And that’s great.
But for me, a stranger, standing with the Dark Clouds in a hospitable, friendly environment was a welcome departure from the norm, and a breath of fresh air from the ultras to whom I have gotten accustomed. The lighthearted approach made for a thoroughly enjoyable time.
Here’s a compilation of my favorite moments: