I got word last week that my work here at the DA's office may slowly come to a halt in about a year. A new position has opened up with the city of Austin and they've asked me to consider it. I've already agreed to sit down with some of the city's council members to hammer out the details, but the job relates to the new soccer stadium that will be built here.
The Austin Chronicle covered the story a few days ago: All Aboard the Soccer Train! Major League Soccer and urban rail take Austin by storm.
In a nut shell: "the construction of a new soccer stadium in the middle of the Colorado
River – a project which will also provide the missing link in a new
urban rail line serving the entire Central Texas area. The train will
cross the river between Congress Avenue and I-35, stopping mid-river at a
new, landfill-constructed and designed 'Fantasy Island.'"
My new job? Well, it suits me perfectly because it combines my legal knowledge, my criminal law experience, and my knowledge and love of soccer. The job doesn't have a formal title yet but basically I'll be taking lead on ensuring the minimum of hoologanism before, during, and after the games.
It's kind of a quasi-lega, quasi-law enforcement, quasi-looking cool job, so here's a pic of me in what they've asked me to wear:
The need for someone to do this job is based on a significant fear is that outside groups will use the rail system and soccer matches to bring crime into the city -- drugs and prostitution mainly. There's also a concern that the gangs from south of the border will end up waging turf wars here against the established Bloods and Crips. Fighting on the terraces is bad enough when it's over soccer, but we simply can't have hooligangsters roaming the streets of Austin and causing trouble for innocent citizens.
One initial thought, and I welcome feedback, is that we should try and make the game itself a force against evil. I'm not sure how, but one possibility might be to make the goals a little larger (others are already proposing this, like here and here). I know, it sounds weird even when I write it, but it seems to me that if more goals are scored then the game is more interesting, and maybe the people who are in the stands to make trouble will actually become enthralled with the Beautiful Game.
The other thought rolling around in my head is to require everyone going to a game to bring a child. It's a clever idea, I think, because this will result in less violence (who wants to start a fight in front of a kid?!) but has side benefits: (1) more income for the stadium because it's two tickets instead of one; (2) ice cream vendors as well as beer vendors can make a buck; (3) more kids will get into soccer and in ten years maybe the U.S. national team will suck less. Probably other benefits, too, but I just had the idea so they're not coming to me just yet.
The last thought I'll share is about cheerleaders. A foreign concept for soccer, right? Well, in case you forgot what they are, here's one:
Wait, now I forgot my idea.
Anyway, I'll keep you updated. I won't give up my novel-writing, never fear, and maybe I'll even get a few ideas from the new position.
"Hooli-Czar." How's that for a job title?