Given that Speedway Soccer has (quite deservedly) taken some flack for a few pieces that struck some as fanship manuals (Do This! Don’t Do That!), I want to be clear at the outset that there is nothing prescriptive in what I’m about to say beyond, perhaps, a suggestion that we all be aware of the rare moment in a team’s history that we are experiencing and, importantly, playing a role in.
Like many of you, I’m a fan of a Premier League team (Chelsea, in my case) that has existed more than a century. Also, like many of you, I have repeatedly read different versions of the founding of the club and a variety of histories of players, owners, and fans. I’ve read the stories, some perhaps apocryphal, about how particular chants or songs started, the arguments over origins. I love reading these stories; I love imagining being there at the beginning; I love being the recipient of a long tradition, and I love knowing that I’m some small part of how the traditions and rituals carry on and transform.
All the same, I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to have been there in the earliest days, the days when these traditions were just starting. The other day, I was talking to a friend from Portland, and he was musing on his fanship with the Timbers during the pre-MLS days, and while there was a bit of the old curmudgeon “It ain’t like it used to be” in his words, there was also this sense of nostalgia and wonder about the way things change. And I thought to myself that we NSC fans are at that magical point right now. We are living those moments of origin. We are part of the conversation that will shape the meaning of NSC, regardless of how long the club continues (and, for the sake of US soccer, let’s hope it has no end). We are watching (and playing a small part in) the history that will be read about.
While I find myself exasperated at times by some of the disagreements between fans, the overplaying of some humor, the pursuit of authenticity, ultimately, I want to relish all of it, because we are in it, we are in a moment of origins. These are the days the next generation of fans will hear about. - John Sloop
I remember the first tweet I read from Chris Jones several years ago, when he was wondering what it would take to form a new soccer team in the wake of the demise of the Metros. I recall those early meetings when they were settling on membership fees and colors, the early formation of the Roadies. While I mostly stood on the sidelines and watched, those were some very magical moments in what becomes the tradition of the club. While the club grows, ownership and leagues change, we are all beholden to traditions and rivalries that were formed in those early days.
And get this: we are still in the earliest parts of the formation of Nashville Soccer Club and its culture. While The Roadies (and the Assembly) are certainly the public face of one type of support and culture around the team, we are living the moments when tradition is being formed. While I find myself exasperated at times by some of the disagreements between fans, the overplaying of some humor, the pursuit of authenticity, ultimately, I want to relish all of it, because we are in it, we are in a moment of origins. These are the days the next generation of fans will hear about.
Rhetorical critic Kenneth Burke once asked us to imagine culture as a conversation in a hotel lobby. When you first walk up to the conversation, you stand quietly and listen, figuring out the topics, the personalities, the norms. Slowly, you begin to join in, inserting yourself, indeed changing the conversation a bit as you take part. As the night gets late, you finally leave the conversation, as have others, but new people have joined, taking off from the topics and norms you helped establish.
We are just at the beginning of this conversation; at the beginning of the way Nashville Soccer Club culture will be shaped. We should really live, and relish, this moment.
This article is an opinion piece. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Speedway Soccer as a whole.