Nashville SC are on a tear right now.
While I’m certain I’ve had favorite teams go on tears that are more impressive than the last four games for Nashville, none of have felt quite so satisfying. 12 of 12 points. 14 goals scored versus just one conceded. Hany Mukhtar jumping to the top of the goal scorers list two weeks after I told a friend that it was going to be a really close call for him to get to 20.
All of that is satisfying on its own grounds, and it is having an effect in terms of the overall buzz around the team, at least anecdotally. My twitter feed is page after page of Mukhtar MVP discourse (or responses to seemingly defensive Atlanta United fans).
A number of people are tweeting that they may have in fact been wrong about Gary Smith. Or, at least, that they like the changes he’s made. This afternoon, I heard Jason Moon Wilkins, the program director at WNXP, note on the air that he didn’t quite “get” soccer until he went to the game Saturday night and now all he wants to do is chant with the Backline.
And I have to think that a lot of first timers are having the same experience. Even when I think the crowds should be larger than they are, the atmosphere has still been absolutely electric. The Backline in full voice is something to behold, and they make even the quiet and bougie sections of the stadium seem more exciting.
Things are going well, then, and they are very likely to get better. Keep this momentum going, and the crowds for the last remaining games will swell. And, as for potential home playoff games, the stadium will be rocking.
While all of this is going well, there are still complaints and concerns popping up on social media, and I want to help us take those concerns completely off the table.
1. The ‘Yotes
It seems that every time someone uses this nickname for the team, a discussion will inevitably break out between those who like the nickname and those who don’t. While I understand liking or not liking nicknames, I don’t understand why it matters to any of us how others feel about a nickname.
When I was a kid, I remember finding the use “Bucs” to refer to the Pittsburgh Pirates very disconcerting. Even when I came to understand Bucs as a simple synonym for Pirates, I still didn’t like it. I only heard reporters use the terms and it just seemed… I dunno… wrong. But you know what, no one was making me use the nickname, so it really didn’t matter.
Having attended those early metro council meetings where the name first humorously appeared, I agree with my colleague Chris Ivey that it’s a very cool and organic name. I’m going to use it, but it’s completely cool, of course, if others don’t.
It’s a nickname. Not a trademark, not a law.
I like that it gives the fans some ownership of a name. But there is absolutely no reason for you to like or use it. There’s also no reason for you to be upset with me or anyone else for doing so.
2. Concession prices at Geodis
My friends. Nothing costs anything if you don’t buy. Eat up at tailgates, fill those bellies at local eateries.
In my entire life, I have maybe purchased food at major tier sporting events on two or three occasions. I can never justify the price. Plus, if I don’t’ buy, I don’t complain. And if I don’t buy, and you don’t buy, sooner or later, the stadium will fix the problem.
Everything is worth exactly what someone will pay for it. And in paying for it, you’re giving your consent to that price point.
3. The size of the crowd
Look, I want the stadium filled every game. I want every seat not only bought but also occupied. I truly believe winning cures most attendance problems on a long enough timeline.
But it’s not my job to try to explain what the club is doing wrong to lead to empty seats. “It’s too late on a school night.” “The games aren’t exciting enough.”
I like it full and loud in there both because it makes it more fun for me, and also because such loudness makes it difficult for opponents to succeed. That said, not a lot I can do about that.
In short, let’s enjoy this bit of magic. The club is playing better than ever. This streak is amazing. We are blessed. Let’s embrace it all and control the things we can.