Here’s the situation. It’s taken four years, but Atlanta United is finally having its first season as an MLS team. Those early glory years are clearly a mirage or were just friendlies or some sort of beautiful lucid dream that we’re all just waking up from now. I for one am relishing this experience. An injured Designated Player, a really talented and good Designated Player who didn’t do so well in Atlanta for reasons, and another, a prospect that might be good in a few years, that is taking up one of the three most important roster slots on the team.
Elsewhere there’s this tweet that basically previews every match the team will play in 2020:
17s we have a real opportunity in 2020 to know what it's like to be an MLS team fan - in consistent DPs, weird moves by the front office, someone managing the team, a British guy, midfielders who can't midfield, someone might win or whatever tonight maybe!— Parker Cleveland (@AekprrAcdeellnv) September 2, 2020
Atlanta United obviously shot up to the top of the league in years 1-3 and fans never got to really experience the gamut of emotions of following an MLS team in that time. Weird twinges of hope scattered amongst a field sown with dread, the desperate need for an unlikely last minute trashcan goal, and looking upon other teams enviously while wondering, “that doesn’t seem all that hard, why isn’t the team doing that?”
Let’s do an exercise.
Wait, first here’s the best comment from last week. It is the most logical and reasonable one that I saw. As a former high school debate judge, my judgement in this matter is beyond reproach.
Now, let’s do an exercise.
Breathe some more.
Let it out.
Breathe in and take in all of the elements of MLS.
Know that you are one with the league and the league is one with you.
Visualize the elements of Atlanta United in 2020.
Think of what is real.
Now, open your eyes.
What do you see?
That’s it. That’s the question. Pass it on.
To be clear, the question is: what’s it like to support an MLS team for the first time? How does it feel? What emotions does it bring up? Thoughts? How do your actions reflect these conscious and subconscious elements?