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October 17, 2006


At the end of my last blog, I referred to the Houston Dynamo as the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes played two years in the NASL, while the Dynamo are the former San Jose Earthquakes of MLS.

It's not the only times those names have been used. There was a Houston Dynamo who made the finals of the United Soccer League in 1983, the only season the league existed. Another Houston Hurricane played in the USISL Division Two in the late '90s.

I could go further. I could talk about how dominant Houston soccer teams have been, gushing about the long, fantastic history of local soccer, but the '90s Hurricane only fared well in one post-season, barely making the playoffs. The other seasons, they . . . well, bit hard.

The subject of soccer leads into something that, as a soccer fan, has bugged me for years, and it deals with "American" football.

The NFL didn't used to be played on a weekly game schedule. There didn't used to be a bye week, until there was an odd number of teams in the '90s. I can't for the life of me remember who it was in the '70s (I think it was Commissioner Paul Tagliabue) who decided the game should be played every Sunday and on holidays, with one game on Monday to be broadcast on national television. It was called revolutionary, and the NFL has been the dominant sports league in the USA ever since. He gets all the credit for coming up with the idea . . .

. . . despite the fact that it was first done in the English Premiere (Soccer) League in the 1880s.

Most soccer leagues, including MLS, play in this manner. They play one game most weekends, one or two weeks off, and a number of "mid-week matches" on Wednesday. The difference between MLS and other national leagues is that MLS plays in summer, while everyone else plays from August to May to avoid conflicts with international competitions. MLS plays in the summer because football, basketball, and hockey are all played during that time period.

Other countries wonder why MLS plays in the summer?

That's why.

Accuracy is, simply put, completely stating what is true. The keyword here is completely. That means you can't leave out something that changes anyone's understanding, including your own. If you mention the Houston Dynamo, few people will remember the USL. But if you mention the Houston Hurricane, since the USISL was much more recent, younger people may think of them when you mean the NASL team of the "Love Ya Blue" days.

It's important not only to do the research, but to clarify. If you don't clarify, the wrong interpretation can easily be used by whomever you are communicating with.

I'll get into how this gets into writing in the next blog, when I talk about research.

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