When you leave a place for a decade, you can’t just slide back into it. There are teeth missing and maybe an appendix, and even if the adult molars are grown back in and the appendix wasn’t necessary to begin with, nothing is the same.
I grew up here, and when I left Cincinnati, the riverfront was a collection of dirt piles. This was perhaps an improvement over the Scooby Doo abandoned warehouses which used to form the welcome gates to Riverfront Stadium. When I came back, there were lawns and a carousel and everything was nice and it made me very uncomfortable.
This is how I feel when showered with professional soccer talk. I’m not entirely sure what to make of FC Cincinnati, except for the fact that I finally felt compelled to look up what FC stood for (it’s not, apparently, footlong coney) and somehow there’s a lion involved and the team colors are the same as Visitation‘s, which in grade school is the soccer team which always beat my grade school soccer team, so it had that much going for it. I could not name a single player on the team, although now I think of one of my nephew’s favorite tee shirts, there’s possibly a person called Mitch who says no. (UPDATE: Mitch is, upon further review, not on the team anymore, so apparently some no-ing went on at some point. I will keep you updated.)
It’s not that I feel antipathy towards a professional soccer team, exactly– it’s just that I have no idea what to do with one. It’s as if someone handed me a brand-new feed welder; I’m sure it’s very nice, but I never asked for one, and I’m pretty sure it will wind up causing widespread damage if left in the wrong hands.
Despite my German reaction to anything new, including gas-based light sources and some antibiotics, FC Cincinnati is not a threat to my baseball team. Sports allegiance across multiple genres is not a diminishing pie, in which a family who purchases tickets to an FC game will thereby refuse to walk into GABP six months later. If anything, additional teams just make for a bigger pie. I say bring in a rugby franchise and two minor league luge pairs while we’re at it. Any Reds fan dumping on a pro soccer team out of fear, therefore, is pushing away a bigger pie. In this age of cookie dough served in straight-up in ice cream cones, I ask you: Why not take all of the saturated fat unto yourself? Wouldn’ t you like to have been around in the first days of the Reds?
The answer is no, you would not, because their uniforms were wool and probably smelled like the underside of a yak by August, and their grandstand fell over. But I’m a sucker for being important dint of standing next to something actually significant.
In an attempt to become relevant (I can always attempt), I watched the team expansion announcement, during which I heard many incomprehensible chants, which made me feel old, but then someone started a sped-up version of what sounded suspiciously like “We don’t mess around!” from Gary Burbank’s Sports or Consequences, which made me feel old and sad.
In any case, welcome, FC. May your Day-Os be few and your purposeful fireworks be many.
Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.