In the 73rd minute of Atlanta United’s 2-0 win over Montreal, I began speaking in tongues, God became real, my third eye opened and darn it if didn’t start seeing a color that I didn’t previously know existed. I want to call it blellow?
I’ve been a keyboard warrior for Jeffrey Adam Larentowicz since he regularly clocked in as a starting midfielder for the Five Stripes. I’ve pushed the narrative that he — a player that nearly ever shows up on the stat sheet — is an instrumental piece of this team that quietly goes about his business and makes a massive impact on the team that’s almost always positive.
Some (OK, fine. Mostly all) of my time spent on a constant perch atop the Jeff Larentowicz soapbox comes from a joking place. The guy ain’t flashy. But, I’ve still developed a profound appreciation for what Larentowicz does on the pitch and the fact that he may be the best interview on the team from a press perspective.
My...erm....fascination with Larentowicz led to pieces like Jeff Larentowicz vs. The World, that imagined what the world would be like with an entire team full of Larry’s. Not to mention countless tweets defending Larentowicz, promoting his value as a player, and encouraging whatever deity looms over us to allow Jeff to score.
One retweet equals one prayer for a Jeff Larentowicz goal.— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) September 21, 2017
In the 73rd minute of yesterday’s match, it finally happened.
Larentowicz scored. Not just any goal, an important goal. A goal that sealed a massive win over Montreal in the midst of an incredible winning streak from Atlanta United. And it happened right in front of me. And it happened in typical Larentowicz Man ™ fashion. An ugly, scrappy goal that Larentowicz chested in on sheer effort and heart and willpower and veteran leadership alone.
Strangely, I handled it with grace and serenity.
HOLYUYY FUCHJHYFG SHITTYF— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
LARRY OH MY FREAKING GODDD— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
I CANT FEEL MY FACE OH MY GODDDD— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
HGSHGSSHJG!!!— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
DREEEAMMMSSS DO COME TRUE pic.twitter.com/us1YD4ehvv— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
I HAVE BEEN FREAKING OUT FOR A SOLID FIVE MINUTES— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
Y'AALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
Dana was two feet away and I almost tackled our entire row https://t.co/24dHwwzDEY— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
IT CAME A GAME LATER THAN IT WAS SUPPOSED TOO BUT GOD IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE SOUTH Y'ALL https://t.co/U8L5qsLHqy— LARENTOWICZ FAN ACCT (@J_SamJones) September 24, 2017
Despite an eerie calmness on my end, y’all were delightfully there to freak out for me.
YOUR MOMENT HAS COME— wario speedwagon (@warneagle) September 24, 2017
So happy for you— Joseph Alford (@Joseph_Alford) September 24, 2017
How did Larentowicz score from @J_SamJones basement?— Jarrett Smith (@Jarrett_Smith) September 24, 2017
After the goal, Atlanta cruised the rest of the way to a 2-0 win. I left the stadium ecstatic. And then, I made a huge mistake.
I challenged Atlanta United twitter. I lost. Swiftly and violently.
26 minutes. Nicely done, y'all!— Soccer Down Here (@SoccerDownHere) September 24, 2017
26 minutes. Twenty. Six. Minutes. In less than the time it takes to watch most TV shows, a throwaway joke became my most interacted with tweet of all-time, easily eclipsing the 100 mark. Thanks for that. Now, I’m obligated to get a tattoo of Jeff Larentowicz.
Of course, I immediately began looking for excuses to get out of it.
My first excuse was, “I’m too poor.” I’m a recent college graduate and my job doesn’t exactly keep me well financed. “Fortunately,” Dirty South Soccer editor Rob Usry has graciously offered to pay for the tattoo (at a reasonable price, of course) so long as I get video of it and turn it into #content.
My second excuse was that I had no idea what tattoo to get. “Fortunately,” y’all seemed to have plenty of ideas, including:
tattoo orange freckles on your face, it'd be the best homage possible— fiore del partigiano (@phcleveland3) September 24, 2017
"Larentowicz" across your back like a jersey— Charlie (@coxasaurus) September 24, 2017
Please just “JEFF” in comic sans on your bicep— Mark Washington (@pray4mwash) September 24, 2017
LARRY on your heart— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) September 24, 2017
My third and final excuse is that I don’t know how I’d ever be able to explain to my father/coworkers/future romantic partners the reason I have a tattoo of MLS veteran Jeff Larentowicz on my...wherever I end up putting this thing.
This excuse has not been resolved. This is where you guys come in.
The only way this is going to happen is if there’s a reason for it besides, “Lol, look at we made the nerdy blogger do.” The only reason I can come up with to validate this is if we do something positive with it.
Enter The Fugees.
According to their website, “The Fugees Academy is the nation’s only school dedicated to refugee education. The school has received SAIS and SACS accreditation, blending creative teaching with academic fundamentals, interwoven with leadership and character building.
“Sports remains a key to the success of the children, and the organization’s programming includes year-round soccer for over 90 boys and girls aged 10-18, after-school tutoring, soccer for 50 elementary-aged students, and an academic enrichment summer camp.”
Essentially, it’s just about the coolest organization in the universe. Soccer and academics for those in need. And it’s based right here in Atlanta. In fact Atlanta United supporters group, The Faction, has raised over 10,000 dollars for The Fugees this year alone.
Let’s help them out.
Here’s where your money goes when you donate to The Fugees:
$20 lunch for one student/week
$250 Soccer registration for 2 players
$830 Monthly tuition
$5,000 Soccer uniforms/registration/tournaments for 1 team
$12,500 All program expenses for one student, including meals, summer camp, out of school programming and athletics.
As of this moment, my tweet about the Larry tattoo has been retweeted 155 times. If each person who retweeted it gave $10 dollars we will have raised enough for 77.5 weeks of lunch for a student at the academy, soccer registration for six players, and nearly enough to pay monthly tuition for two students.
All I’m asking for is a little more than half that. Y’all reached 100 retweets in 26 minutes. How long will it take y’all to reach $1,000 dollars for The Fugees?
While this may seem like a set back for the “Lol, let’s make the nerdy blogger get a tattoo” camp, I have good news. You, (yes, you) the Dirty South Soccer reading public and beyond, will get to pick the tattoo in question.
Obviously, it will need to be reasonable enough so that Rob Usry isn’t bankrupt by the time this is over. Show some mercy to me too if you don’t mind. Otherwise * cringes* everything else is fair game. Add your idea in the comments or tweet at me or DSS. We’ll pick the four ideas with the most traction and put them up to a vote.
They way you’ll vote from there is through donations. Head over to our GoFundMe page here and include your favorite idea from the four with your donation. The idea that raises the most money will then I guess go on my body for eternity. Cool.
The Fugees are worth it though and iguessikindofwantthetattoo...
Feel free to go ahead donate without an idea too. It’s a good cause.
All you have to do is go here: https://www.gofundme.com/larentowicz-tattoo-for-the-fugees
We get to $1,000 dollars, I get a Larentowicz tattoo and we do a whole lot of good. We go way beyond that, who knows? Face tattoo?
Check back later this week for our four candidates. Let’s make this happen.