As I write this, it's a little under 36 hours from what will be only the 11th time since 1981 that our city has hosted a championship qualification game in a major sport. As co-mod of this forum, I speak to you as a season ticketholder, as a fan of the world's game, as a sports fan in general, and as a Philadelphian, born and raised. And 180 minutes away from the end of a 19-year pro sports championship drought in this town. You, the Charge, have been the singular, solitary reason for being a Philly sports fan in 2002. The winter, spring and summer of our discontent began in St. Louis, where the football team fumbled and pick-ed its way out of a Super Bowl; then the hockey team couldn't spell goal even if you spotted them the G, O, A and L; the hoops team, one and done on 100% merit, and then the REAL "fun" began, and then the losing-est month in the history of ball and bat in this town, from the losing-est franchise in the history of American pro sport, and that's saying something. ESPN The Magazine's website summed it up in 11 words on 4/30, words that ring as true now as they did then; "If it weren't for the Charge, Philly would have no hope." I raise a virtual toast to all of you; Melissa, Kelly, Jennifer, Lorrie, Mary-Frances, Rakel, Karyn, Benny, Erin, Michelle, Liu, Marinette, Kerry, Heather, Erica, Stacey, Zhao, Janel, Rebekah, Andrea, Tara, Mandy and Maite for a ride we fans will remember with pride, for giving us hope, for exceptional quality on and off the field. You have raised the bar for the other 4 teams. And left them eating your dust this year. To the city's best coaching staff, Mark; Pia, John, Tony, Darren, Duane...you made a commitment to winning, come hell, torn ACL's or high water. The Two Larrys (Bowa and Brown), Andy Reid and whomever the Flyers are coached by this minute could learn lots from your professionalism and work ethic. Hopefully the gang will stay together for 2003. To our GM and his staff; Tim, we have had issues, us on BigSoccer about the games themselves (Howard the Duck, the music, the t-shirt tosses). They would be downright intolerable on a losing team. But the good outweighs the bad, in the end. When the season does end, though, there are two pressing matters in particular; keeping Mark and Pia in the fold. Somehow. We're possessive that way; we've got it so good here, coaching-wise, that we don't want to share with anyone else. In a profoundly tough market to crack, with a "sports talk" radio station which goes out of its way to disrespect you at every turn, and will go into meltdown mode next week if you win Saturday (for they know that you will lay claim to the team that ended the drought and not their pet four teams...) you've gotten the word out about the team. Successfully. No matter what Saturday, no abso-fricking-lutely matter what, thank you all for giving us hope, for playing your hearts out; for being great athletes and great people, who are as accessible and easy to talk to as a next-door neighbor whom you know for a long time. Our loyalty will not waver or change. And we'll be back for 2003. Good luck Saturday, make FCII a Mia-free zone, and Charge Team Fighting! Paul Hanlin Jr.