Part Two: The Travesty of Toronto FC

Is Toronto FC the jester of MLS and North American soccer?
by Sonja Missio   |   Friday, July 26, 2013

Red Dawn Rising - column on Toronto FC (TFC) & the Toronto Ontario soccer scene

Travesty: a literary or artistic burlesque of a serious work or subject, characterized by grotesque or ludicrous incongruity of style, treatment, or subject matter.

Last week, I began my 3-part series on what is wrong with Toronto FC (you can read Part One here). 

In “The Tragedy of Toronto” I argued that the problem with the team is not what it currently is (2-10-8, in case you were wondering), but rather, what it could have been (a great empire).

This week I want to examine the “grotesque [and] ludicrous incongruity” in the recent state of affairs surrounding the club.

Or, “The Travesty of Toronto FC.”

It is really the “grotesque” and “ludicrous” that I would like to focus on, because it is the mismanagement of the growing tribulations between club and supporters that is the true travesty.

While the players on the pitch are a whole other cause of concern, it is time to examine the management – the foundation that the team rests on – to see what exactly is going wrong with the club as a whole. 

Truth be told, I am beginning to wonder if Toronto FC is no longer a proper sports enterprise, but rather one that is better represented through the Carnivalesque.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the Carnivalesque (and for those of you who didn’t bother to click the hyperlink I so kindly provided), it is described as, “a literary mode that subverts and liberates the assumptions of the dominant style or atmosphere through humor and chaos.”

A travesty, if you will.

And what humour and chaos it is! Toronto FC could not play the role of the jester any better. If the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Udinese are considered high culture teams, then Toronto FC is most definitely challenging the hegemonic standard of professional soccer. 

Consider this: A few weeks ago, Toronto FC announced (at a special press conference) that the club would be playing AS Roma in a midseason friendly in August, much to the dismay of Toronto fans and the confusion of Roma fans.

Protest over the game was well documented; supporters complained the game would be a pointless cash grab (they are correct) that may result in unnecessary injuries for the home team (they probably will be correct). 

No one – save a few Romans – had anything positive to say about the Italian side’s visit.

So what did Toronto FC do the next home game? A game, mind you, that was days away from another home match against the Italian roster heavy Montreal Impact?

The club handed out free bags of pasta.

This is not the first time the club has had poorly timed giveaways; last year during a God-knows-how-long non-winning streak, the club gave out free sample bottles of Vaseline (I will leave that connection to your imagination). 

It is these little scenarios that can’t help but leave supporters feeling with a paranoid persecution complex, wondering if the club is really out to get them. Or just simply out of touch with what’s going on.

The disconnect between the upper echelon of management and fans is, at first, hilarious, until you realize that Toronto FC is suppose to be a proper sports team.

And once you realize that, you begin to question if it really is the Carnivalesque.

You see, theoretically the “humour and chaos” should be a performed act; one that is deliberate, a subversive social commentary of reigning powers. One should only play the fool as a reaction to the pre-agreed upon role that is expected in society.

In other words, don’t play the fool if you really are one.  

And that’s where Toronto FC takes a dangerous turn: I am not sure if the act is deliberate and performed or unintentional and genuine.

Make no mistake, I hope it’s deliberate and performed; that everything is done by the club is part of a larger plan and one day we all look back at this tomfoolery and laugh. That all the pain and suffering TFC supporters are going through will one day be worth it.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. 


Univ. of Guelph, Univ. of W. Ontario, Brock University
Club Domestic:
Toronto FC
Club Foreign:
Supported Udinese since birth, TFC was her own stupid decision; writing on her masochistic relationship with soccer started after. Doomed as a Canadian - Friulano - Swiss - Filipina. Searching for Juventini actually from Turin and running for FIFA Prez.