I did a thing.
A soccer thing.
A few weeks ago, I was on Twitter (like I am, a lot) and saw that there was going to be a panel discussion on the Cultural Resonance of Soccer in America. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? There were several folks connected to soccer media together on the panel, and it was moderated by a professor of Sports Management at NYU. The discussion was followed by a brief Q&A and the whole thing was streamed on Periscope.
I think I’ve gone into NYC more in the past 6 months than I have in the past 6 years. And all of them have been sports-related. And I’ve really enjoyed every event, so I hopped on a bus to Port Authority and took a subway train to the Village. I got to the city early enough to visit my old college roommate at the school where she works. Roomie and I had an early dinner together, and she walked me to the event before doing her regular commute home.
Soon after I sat down, a few familiar faces appeared– other Red Bulls fans with whom I interact on Twitter. We spent a few minutes chatting before the event began. One of the panelists came over to us to say hello: Scott Sandalow, who works for the New York Red Bulls. I’ve come to learn (shockingly, through Twitter) that Scott is a bit of a connoisseur of all things peanut butter and jelly, so I took it upon myself to provide him with a carrot cake jelly roll that was stuffed with peanut butter and jelly. I think he appreciated the gift…
But I digress…. on to a taste of the actual discussion:
The central question was essentially, “Has soccer arrived in America?” And it seemed to be the answer was “kinda, but we can’t stop now.” Within that question, the panelists discussed the role of social media in the soccer experience and what supporter culture looks like because of millenials. One of the panelists referred to soccer as an ‘alt-sport’ and likened it to ’90s grunge. The same way hard rock was suddenly allowed to be more emotional, sports aren’t just for the big bulky jocks. The discussion also touched on the superiority of the soccer arena experience– which is absolutely true: if you don’t think you like soccer, try going to a game. It just might change your mind.
The event was fantastic. And I was back in Jersey and home by my usual bedtime. Since I’m now saving my pennies to buy a house with the Hubs, I probably won’t be gallivanting to Manhattan for a while. But I have to say this constituted going out with a bang.
Play on, my friends!