By Davey Shepherd (@daveytshep), host.
Never once in my life have I thought, “I’d like to try to get in the mind of John Sloop”. But here we are.
When Sloop took off for London (where he and a group of students watched Chelsea defeat Liverpool 2-0 in the FA Cup) he asked me, “why don’t you write my column for me”. Normally I would’ve balked. First, I don’t have the emotional attraction to soccer fandom that Sloop has. I’m on the record about a billion times saying it does nothing for me. Second, I don’t have the mind that an academic rhetorician has to try and parse the above mentioned thing that I have no interest in. But after Saturday I was delighted to take on the column this week.
There are occasions in sports that become bigger than the game itself. Things like Kobe scoring 81 against the Raptors, or Cal Ripken breaking Lou Gehrig’s record. Here locally we obviously have The Music City Miracle. Saturday Night was that type of night.
It wasn’t due to a record being broken (although the state attendance record for soccer was broken) or some outstanding individual performance. No, Saturday night had that kind of weight because of the emotion held by nearly 60,000 people who filled the building. Saturday was odd in that it was both the culmination of several years of tireless work by everyone who got us there, but also just the first step in the next leg of the journey. Despite the 2-1 defeat, the entire night was special. However there are just a few moments that I’d like to spotlight that caught my attention.
La Brigada's Coming Out Party
I’ve gotta put this at the top of my list because for me this is the first time I’ve seen the true melding of the Latin community and NSC. The hard work of people like Abel to get this group off the ground and show their passion for their sport and for their club was awesome.
The Backline Absolutely Maxed Out
There wasn’t a seat to be had in the GA sections of Nissan stadium. In fact, I had friends who bought tickets in that section and were told by security that they needed to head to the 300s because there were no more seats left there (something that surely the club will work out). But to look over from 137, and to see the entire section maxed out with scarves held high during the anthem was outstanding. Again, props to all of the SGs for what you do.
“Butts In Seats”
This was the refrain I heard all week: “How many of these tickets sold are actually going to be there?" Well, the answer was all of them. I’m a Titans season ticket holder as well and I can assure you that it was as full as any Titans game I’ve ever been to. What’s more important though, is that the butts weren’t in the seats. The entire 100 and 200 level was on their feet for the full 90 minute match. People might have come for a party, but they were absolutely invested on the match itself.
Maybe one of the strangest things about me is that I’m almost as big of a Broadway fan as I am a sports fan. There was a quote from a “Hamilton” song that I thought of that night, and as the week has gone on I still feel that it absolutely nails it.
In “My Shot” Miranda wrote, “This is not a moment. It’s the movement”. For me that sums up the evening. It wasn’t just a game, it’s a franchise. It wasn’t just a stadium, it’s a city’s team. It wasn’t just a night, it’s the future of sports for the city.
Nashville SC is here to stay, and 59,069 of us get to say we were there for the very first breath.