Whoever or whatever you pray to at night—be it the bearded elderly fellow, the multi-armed pachyderm, or a ragu-sauced spaghetti monster in space—drop to your knees tonight and thank that mystical creature for the brilliance and light that is Didier Drogba.
Since joining the Montreal Impact, Drogba has scored seven goals in six games, including the two he put past the savior of America’s goalkeeping legacy, Bill Hamid, and D.C. United this weekend. Every one of Drogba’s goals has been a masterful blend of old man strength paired with the sort of refined wisdom a striker gets from being old enough to remember when LL Cool J was still great.
Despite delivering a baker’s half-dozen of wonderful feats of athleticism and artistry to the MLS masses, there still appears to be a number of fans who are uncomfortable with The Drogfather’s early dominance. Depending on who you allow into the sanctity of your social media feeds, or which message board you choose to frequent, you’ll notice a not insignificant minority of fans who would honestly be happier if Drogba—or any other aging, foreign superstar—struggled in MLS.
If your relationship with the above-mentioned deity of your choice is in good standing, head over to your local church, temple, hut, or religion-themed mall kiosk to light a candle in prayer for these wayward souls.
Sadly, there is a batch of human dark clouds among us who would eagerly trade the shimmering spectacle of Drogba’s Impact performances for the chance to puff their chests out with domestic league pride and boast to their Eurosnob friends that the likes of Andrew Farrell and Jeff Larentowicz are suddenly too much for the Ivorian demigod to break down.
MLS fans have always had a strange way of applying self-worth to the league as a whole. A lot of the blind patriotism and “Us vs. Them” underdog mentality of U.S. fandom bleeds into our club soccer. The idea of some Chelsea fan sitting at a pub laughing at “the MLS” because Drogba appears to be able to score when he wants, is a sweat-soaked nightmare for the sort of fan who has ever tweeted, for example, #MLS4RSL, during CONCACAF Champions League without any sense of shame.
For some, regardless of which specific team they support, a knock against any element of MLS is a knock against all of it. Unfortunately, after 20 years of undeniable improvement, there are still fans who feel that the choice to hitch their time, money and effort wagons to MLS can be invalidated by the opinion of outsiders who barely see highlights—let alone watch full games on a regular basis—of the league.
The easiest solution to this undue shame is to
grow up and realize there’s no reason for you to give a shit take a look at the badge on Drogba’s sleeve as he scores these goals. It very clearly bears the MLS logo. He’s yours now. Regardless of when or how he got here, what Didier Drogba does for (presumably) the rest of his career gets written down in the history books of the league you so desperately want to grow, no differently than those of Kei Kamara or *scrolls for hours to find top American goal-scorer who isn’t Wondolowski* Will Bruin (yikes).
The irony is that many of these same people would also choose to accuse the so-far-underwhelming Andrea Pirlo of stealing money and have him deported. If you’re over 32 and have one too many stamps on your passport, there doesn’t appear to be a soft landing spot in MLS where almost every fan would be glad to have you around.
Life is hard enough without draping your sports fandom in a cloak of personal insecurity. Be kinder to yourself. Sit back and watch Didier Drogba dismantle Major League Soccer for however long his run lasts. Besides, you don’t like 18 of the 19 teams he’s going to embarrass, anyway. Take some well-deserved joy in watching him hold off lesser men, shove them face first into the dirt, spin, score, and knee-slide into the corner flags at Stade Saputo or your neighborhood stadium. And after every goal, remember that he is exactly what you’ve spent years wishing for.