It was like any other isolated moment between players. You could read anything into it you liked. But at a stage managed media event, with reams of boilerplate responses from earnest players staring into recorders and cameras all day, any little bit of honest interaction is an oasis. You start to look for it wherever you can, in the hope of anchoring a story around it. Because that’s all you have. I had hoped there would be more.
I cabbed it to Toronto FC media day this morning, held at the Kia Training Centre in the part of Toronto that is…difficult to get to. The driver’s GPS took us to a military reserve base, and I had visions of mortars hitting the car as we inexplicably drove through a snowy pass to nowhere. After doubling back and arriving “late,” I discovered there was nothing to arrive to save for a small room with upended chairs and a tiny backdrop for media scrums, with various players walking in and out in full kit, sometimes with cleats, with no game to play.
I’m not going to lie…I had no idea who a lot of these people were. I recognized Joe Bendik, who was pretty jovial and upbeat even after news broke earlier this morning from none other than the Brazilian national team coach Phil Scolari that national team keeper Julio Cesar was bound for Toronto FC on loan. Ryan Richter, Reggie Lambe. An impossibly young Jordan Hamilton, who seemed bemused by the whole thing, talking about the courses he was still needed to finish before graduating…high school. I pretended to take notes but was mostly eager to commiserate on the fact they had to be there at all (I’m not a good journalist).
For story stuff, not a lot of ‘there’ there. Ryan Nelsen would not confirm anything about Julio Cesar, but it was just a wink-wink nudge-nudge put on. Canada’s De Rosario remarked on the size of the scrum for a serious looking Michael Bradley once walked out nearly three hours into the proceedings. The American midfielder gave serious, rehearsed responses to questions no one will remember in a day or so.
But there was a small, sliver of a moment when Bradley walked out of the room. He spotted De Rosario, who was doing his own interview in the hall. Bradley through a hand and made a dopey face, which was followed by a knowing smirk back from the Canadian. Nothing at all really. But two midfielders, two different places in their career, two different national team players, genuinely chummy on the same MLS team doing another media day…that’s not a bad thing right? That we’re even here at all?