Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fear Me, Part One: Creative Fandom

In 1999 I became a hardcore fan of women's soccer and of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team when they won the Women's World Cup. For the next three years, I glued myself to every televised game, went to Portland, Louisville, and Fort Lauderdale to watch live matches, bought up magazines and books and swag, and participated on various women's soccer forums. Two among those forums were BigSoccer.com and Shannon MacMillan's AOL Message Board (now defunct).

During that time, it became clear to me that it wasn't enough to merely watch games and cheer the players on.

No.

I had to take fandom up another notch and the wheels of creativity went into overdrive--

No. Not overdrive.

Hyperwarp.

What does this have to do with anything?

Remember what I wrote last time?

Read on...

* * *

In the weeks that I'd been posting on Shannon's message board I had written six songs in honor of Shannon. Tributes, really. Nothing wholly original. These were merely familiar and popular songs with new lyrics--think "Weird Al" and you get the idea.

While rummaging through my brain for a new tribute, I noticed that several posters on the Board were trading song lyrics.

I started to think, "Geez, it sounds like a musical--"

Oooh.

A musical. A musical about the Message Board.

That was it. My next tribute could be a musical about all of us and how Shannon brought us together--

Shannon.

A musical about Shannon.

Sure! Why the hell not?

If Sondheim could write a musical about Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, if Andrew Lloyd Webber could write about the last week in the life of Jesus Christ, why couldn't I write a musical about Shannon?

Immediately, two songs wrote themselves in the space of an hour. Then I combed through my stack of articles as well as a copy of Marla Miller's book All-American Girls and developed the storyline for the "show." It would trace Shannon's story from her stint with the Portland Pilots all the way through the '99 Women's World Cup, as well as her impact on her fans.

On September 29th, I posted part one of MAC: The Musical.

The “complete show,” in two acts, ran ten installments, posted between September 29th and October 30th.

After Part One was posted on the Board, Shannon wrote: "Ace, you are too much. You're killin' me."

Yep. That's me.

Are ya scared yet?

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