Did any of you watch the NBC cult hit Community?
One of the episodes was titled Remedial Chaos Theory. It featured the typical cast hanging out in an apartment, ordering a pizza. When the pizza arrives, the responsibility of trekking downstairs to retrieve it must fall to one of them. Jeff, the group’s de facto leader, suggest they roll a 6-sided die to determine which of them will have to go. Abed, the group’s childish imagination, informs Jeff that by rolling the die he is creating six different timelines, one for each of the possible outcomes. The rest of the episode explores each of those different possibilities in turn. Some of them happy, others not so much
The episode is an exploration of the multiverse theory. The idea that there are an infinite number of universes, each one slightly different than the next. If you subscribe to the multiverse theory, you believe that there are an infinite number of other versions of you, living out their lives in alternate universes where they made a slightly different decision than you did.
What do alternative universes have to do with The Union?
At the beginning of the season, Jim Curtin, Earnie Stewart, and Chris Albright decided to roll some dice, just like the characters in Community.
The odds were not in our favor.
They took a gamble on a striker from the English 4th division, and he has not been the goal scorer we all hoped he would be. They brought in Haris Medunjanin, hoping he would be the replacement to Vincent Nogueira. He has left much to be desired defensively. They hoped that Roland Alberg or Alejandro Bedoya could fill the hole left by Tranquillo Barnetta. Neither has been up to the task. They hoped that Oguchi Onyewu had at least one more season in him to help solidify a young and porous defense. Not so much.
Worse even than the under-performance of the team’s new signings is the attitude of the front office. Staunchly sticking to the same formation and tactics which aren’t working. Taking way too long to make personnel changes. Incessantly repeating the same tired platitudes in every post-game interview. Insisting that the team is made up of good players, that the tactics aren’t the problem, that this is just a run of bad luck and it will all turn around.
16 games without a win is not bad luck. 16 games is nearly half a season. Even if you exclude last season, 8 games without a win is still not something that you can write off to luck. Last year, during the stretch of games where the Union found themselves at the top of the table, Jim Curtin couldn’t stop himself from constantly repeating, “The table doesn’t lie.” I suppose it’s to be expected that when that table has turned on the team, he wouldn’t repeat the phrase. Still, not saying it aloud doesn’t make it any less true. The table doesn’t lie, Jim, and we are at the very bottom. Things could not possibly be any worse than they are.
This, my friends, is the Darkest Timeline.
In Remedial Chaos Theory, one of the timelines they explore ends in disaster. Several characters are either killed, burned, or maimed. But rather than give up and be resigned to their fate, they decide to embrace the darkness. They don “evil” goatees, and decide that their best course of action is to use the power of the multiverse for evil. They plan to leave their own dark universe and take over the universe populated by their more fortunate alternate universe selves.
If you believe in the mutltiverse as I do, then you also believe that somewhere out there exists an alternate timeline where the Union’s gambles paid off. Where they’re one of the best teams in the league. Where they are fun to watch, and all of us are finding joy in watching them every week.
Just imagine… A world where they signed an English striker that scores like Bradley Wright-Phillips. Where they signed a true #6 who can shield the back line and move the ball forward with good passing in the midfield. Where they have wingers who attack with speed and purpose. Where they aren’t bogged down paying big salaries to guys who can’t get off the bench. Where they have a young defense that can defend. Where Andre Blake is still making those breathtaking saves he was making at the beginning of last season.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live in that world. I am tired of this one. I’m tired of this nightmare of a reality where the Union are stuck in the same perpetual rut they’ve always been stuck in.
If such a universe exists, I say we tear open a hole between the two realities. I say we kill and replace our alternate reality selves so that we can experience joy from the Union again. Why should they have the fun while we are left here to suffer in the darkness? What did we do, as fans, to deserve the horror of this reality?
No. We can do better. We deserve better.
Is this evil? Yes. Yes, it is. But I don’t care, and neither should you. This is the Darkest Timeline. The only way to escape it is to embrace it.
Don your felt goatees, my friends. It’s time to put an end to this nightmare. Come, laugh manically with me.