Three things on my mind

I’m tired of waiting for my colleague Davey Shepherd to come up with three things he likes and three things he hates. His short-lived column lasted for about as long as Cincinnati’s success USL. In memory of Three Things I Love, Three Things I Hate, I’m going to give you three items that are simply on my mind:

1. The “NSC” pledge

Several years ago, a number of us in the local Chelsea supporters group pledged to get Chelsea tattoos if Chelsea won the Premier League that year. It was a pledge made during midseason (pledges should indeed be made when the outcome is uncertain), a year in which they did win the league. Remembering this (and the subsequent inking), last week, I asked several people what they would pledge to do if Nashville SC win MLS Cup this season.

Shop MLS Jerseys at

A number of folks pledged tattoos, and another person pledged to get a star above his already existing NSC tattoo. Outside of those pledges, things got a little less permanent, a bit more vague. For example, one person told me he would get NSC shaved into his head, while another pledged to get “black out drunk” (I have no idea if this is a regular occurrence or a pledge to do something he’s never done before) while several people pledged to have a solo sexual experience (not quite what I was looking for with the original question).  At any rate, a pledge like this can be fun and can test your level of commitment. I would love to hear more from some of you.

2. Our different reactions

The reaction to Aníbal Godoy’s goal for Panama against the US in a World Cup qualifier once again highlighted numerous different reactions to such an event. Several folks on social media were talking about how Nashville fans should be happy for Godoy that he scored the goal, even if it meant a US loss. The idea, I surmise, is that Godoy is one of “our guys”, therefore we should support him.

I’m not in on this. I support Nashville as a team; I support the crest. I also support the US national teams and anyone wearing the crest of those teams. When an NSC player is wearing the US jersey (e.g. Zimmerman), I’m pulling for him, NOT because he also happens to be an NSC player but because he’s on a team I support. Hell, for the time of the game, I support all the players wearing the USMNT crest, even if they played for Cincy and pull against anyone wearing the opposition’s crest.

Players change, move from team to team; my love of the teams goes on forever. Do I like the guys wearing the Nashville uniform? Well, sure, to the degree that I support all of our players. Do I support them in every situation? Heck no. I wish Godoy hadn’t scored. I wish a USMNT player had. Not an ounce of me wants to celebrate a goal that topped the team I support.

For what it’s worth, this is not a critique of anyone who wants to celebrate it. I happen to like that we all experience this sport differently.

3. Ted Lasso

Like most of the world, I love Ted Lasso. When the show supposedly “turned dark” this season, I welcomed it. In general, I like shows that can change moods and directions and force me to have complicated emotions. 

That said, I’m baffled about how much the actors and writers on the show keep having to show those who don’t like the turn that the writers are “right” and the viewers are wrong. (It has shades of when David Simon kept telling us how great Treme was, despite it putting me to sleep for three reasons.  I keep reading some version of “This show was never as happy as you thought” or “Such and such a character had multiple signs of being a snake, and here they are…

I get it: you planned this out in advance. But if you don’t understand what people don’t like about it, that’s on you, not on the viewer. Over and over during the first season and into the second, multiple people pronounced loving the show because they found it to be a “feel good” antidote to the pandemic era. To be surprised when some segment of that group is upset that they are no longer getting what they want is ridiculous.

Not everyone has to like the turn the show has made (or, if you want to argue that it never made a turn, then not everyone has to like the turn they are experiencing). There is no one right way to experience a narrative and writers/actors explaining what the show is “really about” is the height of arrogance. Brilliant writing should hit its target without having to be explained afterwards.

Just because the writers and directors of LOST thought they had a fulfilling ending that worked (and I agreed with them) doesn’t mean they did (as the 99% of viewers who didn’t agree with them thought). You can’t argue over an emotional reaction.

See you next week. I’m headed to Columbus for the US game against Costa Rica. I know which crest I’m supporting.

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.

Leave a Reply