For two months the other members of Speedway have been saying, “Davey, when are you going to write something,” and for two months I’ve been blowing them off. But the day has arrived. This column isn’t an original concept, but it’s something that’s always spoken to me when perusing sports sites. The ability for someone to water down their staunch arguments and just be forthright with their feelings has always attracted me, so it’s what I’ve decided to do. With that said, I give you my first ever installment of “Three Things I Love, Three Things I hate”.
Three Things I Love:
I mean what isn’t to love here. While Daniel Ríos has had more end product and in my opinion would be the stand out player of the season so far, Belmar is right there behind him. His pace is noticeable regardless of the opposition and he’s constantly putting himself and the team in dangerous situations. For me, Belmar is that rare but beautiful marriage of a player who has the intangibles of a guy who doesn’t normally show up on the stat sheet, but the talent to show up there as well. The offense has started to click and it’s inevitable that he breaks through in the form of goals and assists soon. I’m looking forward to the levee breaking.
I’m sure these two have put a wrong foot out at some point this season, but I honestly have a trouble remembering when it happened. Point blank, they’ve been rock solid. Pulling from Ben’s Chalkboard session earlier in the week:
“Last year, Nashville had the second best defense in the league, only allowing 31 goals. This year, they're on track to concede only 14. That's on pace for a best-all time in USL, even considering the shorter schedule in past years.”
Now obviously that’s going to track a bit differently as the year carries on, but expect us to be chasing that defensive record deep into the season. That’s largely in part to the performances submitted centrally by Liam Doyle and Ken Tribbett. Add in the displayed ability by both to play a ball over the top and you’ve got a stew going, baby.
Increased Conversation around the team
As Nashville went into the season last year, I cut my teeth on information about the team and the league on reddit. Throughout the MLS bidding process, I built a decent relationship with a rival fanbase in what was a great forum that their fans communicated in. Since then, I’ve been dying for more conversation to kick off around our club, and for better or for worse, it’s arrived. Admittedly there have been a number of hot button issues to discuss over the last few months and they’ve been discussed ad nauseum in every possible forum. Of course a lot of opinions were negative, but ultimately what that showed was a group of people so passionate about the club that they were willing to voice their opinions loudly and repeatedly. Even we here at Speedway weren’t immune (looking at you, Andy). Ultimately I think this is great. The more people locally discussing the team, the better. The more people who feel invested, the better. That’s the only way this whole thing is going to work.
Three Things I Hate
I’m about to show that I’m 75 year old man trapped in the body of a 30 year old, so just hang with me. Clubs trolling each other from an official level is just completely lost on me. I think that’s best left to fans, and honestly particular fans at that (Godspeed Music City Heaters). Before you get going, yes, I understand this is a worldwide trend with the biggest teams in the world doing it all the time. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a minor league move. The old adage goes “a lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of sheep”. We are the lion, Memphis is the sheep. Next.
I found the online dialogue regarding printing vs painting a tifo completely mind numbing. First I should say, I don’t necessarily get the point of the tifo in general, but I gather that it’s a thing that people like so I’m good with it. My rudimentary understanding is that it’s basically a sheet that either pays homage to the home team or memes the opponent. So when the dust kicked up regarding it not being “authentic” to print a tifo vs painting it, I was completely lost. If the point is to clearly display a message, I just really don’t see how printing wouldn’t *always* be better. If someone out there is arguing the method of tifo creation is somehow a barometer of true fandom, I’d probably just leave the room without addressing such an insane assessment. But if I was going to get into it, I’d just say that whether you’re spending hours painting, or dollars printing, I think it’s all equal.
As the late Tom Petty said, “the waiting is the hardest part”. I know I shouldn’t expect MLS news this early. I know we aren’t going to sign anyone before we’re into the dog days of summer. But knowing those things doesn’t stop me from waking up and checking email/twitter/the athletic and checking to see if there is some bit of MLS news relating to NSC for me to devour. The last few years have been an off the field whirlwind. When there wasn’t a game to talk about, there was stadium news, the MLS bidding process, logo talk, front office hires, etc. There has been something for a long time. It’s a mark of a good franchise that things are somewhat settled as we plod through the early days of a long season. That doesn’t make me any less bored as I try to get my fix for long term moves that the club may be making. If it wasn’t for game days I’d have gone crazy already.
Welp, that’s it for your first installment. I hope you’ve enjoyed me just getting some things off my chest that I haven’t had time for on the pod. If you’ve liked it, keep your eyes peeled. I’ll be producing these on an extremely irregular schedule, so your guess is as good as mine for when the next one will be out. If you didn’t like it, make sure to tweet Ben so that he lays off of me in our group chat. On a serious note, I try to make a point of thanking you guys for listening every time I’m on the pod and I’ll do the same thing here. When we started the podcast, our goal was simply to try to spread the good news of NSC to anyone who would listen (and later on read). We still feel lucky to be able to produce content, and are thankful for every listen and every click. See you next time.
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.