Even our female readers should be familiar with the idea that straight guys will do anything for a hot girl. How many times have we seen in tv or movies the nerd who tutors or just does the homework for the hot girl at school? Elmer Fudd was fixated on getting him a “scwewy wabbit,” but couldn’t resist him in a blonde bombshell disguise. To this day I get the lyrics of that Offspring song “Self Esteem” stuck in my head, even though I don’t like the song all that much. But, the band is right, when she shows up your door ready to go what are you gonna do?
Well, doesn’t Landon Donovan feel a bit to you like Bugs Bunny in a wig and lipstick right now?
The Galaxy finally announced that Landon will be coming back. But not for pre-season. Nor for any pre-season training. Nor even for the first couple of games (including CCL qualifiers). No, he is coming back late March and probably won’t start until late April, according to Il Bruce.
I have been a Donovan fan all of my soccer life. My kids have done class projects on him as one of their heroes. I still believe he is the best player on our squad. He is the soccer equivalent of the most popular and attractive girl in school.
Donovan has been playing professionally for 13 years (since he was 17 years old) and has been the most prolific member of our national team for most of that time. He has played almost year round recently thanks to loan deals and has helped us to our first back to back championships. So I don’t fault him for wanting some time off. I don’t even fault him for considering retirement. He earned a break and he earned some time to consider.
But taking time and having some flexibility is one thing. Taking advantage is another. Donovan is earning a couple million dollars a year to play for our team. If he is going to take the pay, isn’t it fair to expect him to earn his way? Coming back a month into the season seems a half-baked commitment at best. Those CCL qualifiers are important and we could use our talismanic player there, but he won’t be suiting up. While the early season isn’t critical for points, it is the time when teams start to learn their rhythm and figure out how to play together. That’s going to happen without our key man. And when he does finally come back, how committed is he really going to be? When he plays, Donovan always plays to win. But there is a noticeable difference when he is passionate and focused. Taking the first 6 weeks off doesn’t give me confidence that we’re going to see that in him this season.
If this were just about any other player, we’d all be screaming for his head. Either you’re with us or you’re out. But while I think we all intellectually know that it isn’t right for Donovan to treat us like this, emotionally it’s hard to get mad at him. He’s still the hottest chick in school and we just want him to give us more attention.
There is one other real drawback to this situation for the Galaxy and one that allows me to harp on a point I made last year. Donovan’s contract ends in a year and his resale value has got to be about nil. A year ago, we might have been able to net $10 million for him. We would have hated to lose him, but at least we could have sold high and used that money to bring in other players (Alessandro Del Pierro was available and probably cheaper). Now, I think the best we can hope for is that we get a good season out of him before he is gone.
Thing is, even if it ends in disaster, I’m still going to think well of him. Okay, so he is screwing us over a bit. But he’ still hot.