Around the Speedway Soccer corporate offices, a popular in-joke after one of us has expressed a negative sentiment or concern about anything Nashville Soccer Club related, is to ask, “Should we be worried?”
While the genesis of this question came from a genuine sentiment expressed on one of the many NSC related social media posts at some point in the past, we use it as a way to keep each other in check, to recognize what we can and cannot control, what matters and what doesn’t. When I first started putting together a list of items that people express concern about, my initial impulse (and Ben Wright had the same idea) was to write out the worry (e.g., “Should we be concerned about ticket sales?”) and then answer “No” to each item and close out the column. I actually liked the idea in a slightly smarmy way, but I think there’s probably a little more to be said.
Two caveats before I begin: First, I don’t put a lot of stock into worrying as a sentiment when it comes to any area of my life. Often, we all find ourselves worrying about issues over which we have no control. In such a case, we are expending a lot of energy making ourselves unhappy when the energy serves no purpose in terms of changing the situation. In those cases when we do have some control, it’s probably best that, rather than worry, we use our energy to influence the outcome the best we can.
Secondly, and I want this to be crystal clear, I’m not in any way providing prescriptions for how fans behave or what they think. While Andy Simmons may believe he’s the Director of Fan Opinions, I am more or less just thinking aloud here about a variety of issues and concerns I hear expressed about the future of soccer here in Nashville.
With that said...
1) Should we be worried that no one besides Davey Shepherd seems to like the new Nashville SC logo?
Absolutely not. First off, this is not something you can control. Second, while anecdotal opinion was not positive, there was more of an embrace of the logo than you likely imagine. Third, it’s only us super nerd fans who spend hours dissecting logos and jerseys. Fourth, in my experience, it’s always the weird logos and kits that meet initial criticism that turn out to be the ones we most fully embrace. Fifth, fans and the team have a way of making minor adjustments toward something they like better. We’ve already notice an uptick in the logo without the octagon, which seems to be aesthetically more pleasing. Sixth, if your taste does align with Davey’s on basically any topic, then you should be worried.
2) Should we be worried about the lawsuits pending against the stadium being built at the Fairgrounds?
Absolutely not. First, this is not something you can control. Second, don’t forget that anyone can sue. That doesn’t mean they have good grounds. At this point, it is simply the only option opponents have left. So, they will file lawsuits on any grounds they imagine might work. And when someone does sue, they are going to talk confidently about the outcome: e.g., “Well, clearly, there were conflicts of interest, and the stadium will never be built” (We’re being told repeatedly on twitter that a Plan B site will be announced soon). This is all noise and PR. Quite frankly, it would be very, very bad business for the city to try to switch gears after making commitments to a major sports organization like MLS. How could anyone trust the city to do proper business and to follow through on their commitments in the future. If we were in competition with other cities for a corporate relocation, don’t think for a second that other city managers wouldn’t say, “Oh, you can’t trust Nashville. Look at how they lied to MLS.”
I know our new mayor is sorta fumbling around right now on what he has to say about the stadium, but he’s really not got a lot of room to operate (both politically and in terms of the actual technical steps a mayor can make).
3) I don’t like the stadium design. The stadium is too large, and we’ll never sell it out. That’s come to be an expectation with new franchises. Should I be worried?
First, absolutely not. This is not something over which you have control. Second, and I would add this to the first two questions above, while this is a new franchise, the folks at Nashville SC are not amateurs. These are professionals who think through these issues. We’re like couch football coaches, who really don’t have any of the inside information or expertise to make decisions. Relax, have a little faith in the organization.
4) I’m not comfortable with the players we’ve signed? Shouldn’t we be doing more? Should I be worried?
First, absolutely not. You have no control over this. Second, we have actually signed a good number of MLS players already, have drafts coming up, and have a lot of other signings to come. In my mind, the fact that Mike Jacobs is an NSC man gives me more confidence in this area than any other.
5) I don’t think the team is doing enough marketing. I don’t think we’ve sold enough season tickets yet. Should I be worried?
First, absolutely not. It’s not your job to market or sell tickets, and you have no control over this. Second, I get it; we all want a big flurry of activity, and we are hoping to bust out of the gates like Atlanta. Remember, the team is trying to differentiate between MLS and USL, something that will be much easier once this season ends. If you are like me, you talk to a number of people out in Nashville, who are really confused about whether or not we have a team now, what the relationship is, etc. Indeed, I haven’t meant a Lyft driver yet who understands much more than a team is “on its way.” I feel good that once this season ends, we will see a lot of clarity.
The same goes for those concerned about attendance at our current USL games. History has shown us over and over that the relationship between USL and MLS attendance in cities that have gone from USL to MLS is not all that connected. Teams with horrific second tier success (e.g., Atlanta) have been enormously successful with MLS. Be patient.
First, absolutely not. You have no control over the past. Second, only Sloop likes to point out things like this, and he’s kind of of a jerk about it.
7) I think one or two of the people who sit in the supporters section may be pyschos. Should I be worried?
On the one hand, you have no control over who is and is not a psycho, so you should not be worried. On the other hand... yeah, definitely something you should worry about.
8) The average temperature on the planet seems to be rising and bees still seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate. Should I be worried?
OK, sure. But turn that energy into taking some action.
This opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Speedway Soccer as a whole.