Rehashing by three

Three matters on my mind this week (also, three things I hope to never talk about again):

1. My last ever comments on “Never Give Up on You” and the guitar solo that begins each NSC home game. Every week, I feel like the Nashville SC online fora become some soccer version of NextDoor. We have the same conversation over and over.

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“I hate the sluggish anthem.” 

“Hey, anthems are supposed to be slow and make us hug each other.”

“I hate that the club dictated it to us.”

“The guitar solo is at the wrong time.”

“I love the guitar solo, and it gets me pumped up.” 

“Why aren’t people picking up their dog poop and putting it in bags?”

My take, my prescription: We are blessed to have a major league franchise in our city. We are gifted with a powerful and loud supporters’ group. This is neither the time nor the place to whine and complain. Local rituals are ALWAYS built out of existing materials. If you don’t like that the anthem was commissioned by the club, do something to make it ours. Change the lyrics; create sounds around it; be creative. Culture is just laying there waiting for you to make it your own. 

Sure, the club commissioned the song, but no one has told you what has to be done while the song is playing. Intent does not equate to permanent meaning. You wanna do something different with it? Do it. Find a way to make it “ours.”

The same goes with the guitar solo and every other aspect of the game. Heck, the Timbers Army has rituals around the national anthem. They’ve made it part of their experience. We can do that with everything. Creativity doesn’t mean that we have to create everything from scratch; it means taking what exists and making it ours.

2. Yeah, yeah, a draw is not a win. I get it. I know. But there’s something about this team, something about the come from behind heroics, something about not knowing where the charge is going to come from (Luke Haaskenson, really?) that gives me a lot of hope for this side. Yes, we need to finish more chances. Yes, we need to stop have early let downs in the defense, but the hope, the drama… it’s what soccer is made of, right?

Someone is going to get in my face and tell me a draw is always dropped points. I get it, ok? The math ain’t that hard, but, that said, this team is exciting in a very peculiar way. I’ll take it.

3. While this next point was driven from the NC State-Vanderbilt baseball screw up, it’s about sports in general, and certainly pertains to soccer. Look, I hate that the game became a No Contest. On the one hand, rules are rules, and if protocols weren’t followed, there is no one to blame but the team itself.

While I may question the protocols, themselves, or while I may critique all aspects of how decisions are made, I find it absurd when we hear claims like, “The NCAA was scared NC State was going to win, so they had to find a way for Vanderbilt to beat them.” 

People, there are not (that many) conspiracies at that level. There may be bad decisions; there may be terrible public relations moves, but there is not a secret cabal pulling for one team to win and another to lose. 

First off, no conspiracy that overt wouldn’t get leaked sooner or later. Secondly, why would they want Vanderbilt to win when the NC State baseball story was so much more compelling. 

I don’t like the NCAA; in general, I don’t like the referee “union” attitude of most sports. But I don’t believe they are so naïve as to try to pull for certain teams and “make sure they win.” 

Criticize calls and decisions, sure? Think it’s all part of a conspiracy? You’re welcome to do so, but, if that’s the case, I don’t even know why you find the sport interesting.

OK, that’s it. I promise. I’m done talking about the anthem. I’m finished talking about referees and organizational decisions in general. And I’m finished salivating over draw after draw.

 In my mind, we Nashville fans are living in a remarkable moment for the sport. Let’s try a little to enjoy it.

Author: John Sloopgrew up in Asheville, NC, and after forays to Georgia and Iowa, found his way to Nashville over 25 years ago. On a trip to Portland, Oregon, 15 years ago, he watched the (then) USL Portland Timbers youth squad play one afternoon and fell completely and totally in love with soccer, to the detriment of his love of all other sports. In addition to thinking, writing, watching, and talking about soccer, Sloop teaches media and rhetoric at Vanderbilt. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Board of the Belcourt Theater and is part of the team that runs Tenx9 Nashville, a monthly story telling event.


  1. Change the Lyrics to “I’ll always be here with you” and or “Shoulder to shoulder with you”.

    A simple change that converts the thought, vibe and mindset from something one tells a consistent loser into a declaration of solidarity with a fighter in any and every moment, high or low.

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