Tempo the Coyote: a nod to Nashville SC’s history

To begin with the wrong sports metaphor, Nashville SC hit the mascot reveal out of the ballpark.

Tempo the Coyote? Are you freaking kidding me? Outside of putting the team itself together, this may be the best thing NSC has done. I don’t even like the idea of mascots for teams, and I’m already head over heels about this one.

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While we, as a fan base, can mumble and grumble about a number of the aspects of the creation of top-down culture and tradition (e.g., “I wish ‘Never Give Up on You’ was more of an anthem,” or, “I like the guitar solo bit, but why hasn’t Ben Wright been allowed to do one yet?”), this feels driven by the fans. In their unveiling, the team notes that they listened to our desire for the coyote as a symbol and delivered on it.

What makes this, in my opinion, not only good news but also important to our culture, our community?

First, it is important that we get to feel like we—as fans—are helping create and shape our experience and the culture of the club we support. Sure, the club created Tempo (and what an awesome name, eh?), but it’s been a part of our conversation for the last several years.

Secondly, and tied together, Tempo emerged out of our experience, as fans and people committed to the club. Yes, the team ties it initially to the coyote in the Music City Center restroom, but for many of us, the real origin point was the anti-stadium speaker at the Metro Council Meeting who warned that soccer patrons might be attacked by coyotes when attending games if the stadium were built at the Fairgrounds. 

Of many funny moments during those debates (including the spit take invocation of a “soccer circus”), it was a crystallizing one. In all of those dreary hours of sitting through, either physically or online, those Metro Council meetings, those moments allowed us to giggle together over twitter and Facebook. Those moments helped build a sense of unity.

Third, by drawing up these historic markers, the team gives us an opportunity, through Tempo, of creating a lineage and a history. Future fans are going to ask, “What the hell is up with a coyote for a mascot?,” and we will get to explain the stories, talk like old timers. Calling upon history and tradition is the surest way to crystallize and solidify the magic of the present.

Nashville SC: I applaud your choice of mascots and the way you drew upon your fanbase.

Tempo: I adore you.

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.

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