Mash the play button, yo.
Tonight, I’m gonna have myself a real good time: I feel alive.
I’m the first to admit I’m a mediocre writer, especially when it comes to speaking about myself. I’m a very good reporter, an outstanding researcher, generally strong in the thinking departments. Putting words to page, though, I make no bones that my writing is often mechanical, formulaic, even derivative.
This still works very well in some contexts! Game previews, recaps, statistical analysis: these are areas in which I provide strong work! Writing about “emotion” or “myself,” on the other hand… room for progress.
Maybe I’m not a bad or mechanical writer, I don’t know. I certainly know I’m self-conscious about it. I also know that I don’t care. I’m having a ball.
So don’t stop me now don’t stop me, ’cause I’m having a good time, having a good time.
I really like the type of season-narrative-setting story that I’m putting out here (see: “writes mechanically and derivatively” above). A piece of music to set the tone, the words that tie the music’s theme to the sporting event in question, the emotional tie between loving a sport and being a human. A lot of the music I like – in all honesty, a lot of the music everyone likes – is, uh, a little too much about “yo, I’m trying to get laid or brag about how much money I have or whatever.”
In the macro, Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” is one such overly-sexualized song (OK, in the micro, too: “I am a sex machine, ready to reload”). From a 10,000-foot view, though, it’s a song about being exuberant, and not wanting anyone to bring you down from the high of being alive.
I’m a shooting star, leaping through the sky. Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity.
In a lot of ways, “Don’t Stop Me Now” is a perfect soccer song. It ropes you in with what seems like the intro to a lame ballad. It doesn’t take long to turn on the energy though, and it’s a freight train of basically non-stop action until denouement at the end.
Queen guitarist Brian May hated the song because of the time it represented in the band’s – and more specifically Freddie Mercury’s – life. Mercury was living on the edge, too many drugs, too much risky sexual behavior. He wrote a song about how great it was to be full-go, all the time. He didn’t want anyone to tell him to behave himself, because he was gonna do his thing anyway.
It’s actually a less problematic song when applied through the lens of soccer. Sport is intended to be a release from the agonies of everyday life. Being unrestrained on the field as a cathartic escape from not being able to do so in life is… well, that’s the point, yeah?
May’s brief solo interrupts what has been a drums-and-piano jam, and it’s not hard to compare it to a moment of individual brilliance on the pitch that comes seemingly out of nowhere.
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you
There has been a lot of angst in the Nashville SC world and the soccer world about the meaning – or importance – of terms and phrases like “organic,” “earned versus bought,” “plastic,” “whether it is better to have fans or a competent soccer team,” and many more. There are others relating to how fans should grapple with the changing relationship they have with a club they literally founded and now serve only as supporters in the stands, and the parking lots, and the community. The lost relationships with favorites from the NPSL days, the USL days.
My verdict is as follows: none of that shit matters. Not today.
At the end of the day, this is about fun. Forget the inter-fanbase pissing contests, the argument about whose club is more legitimate, whose fanbase is more legitimate, how many fans it takes to counterbalance the worst season in MLS history, any of that. It’s about sitting – for many, standing – with nearly 60,000 of your closest friends in an NFL stadium as Nashville SC kicks its first ball in Major League Soccer.
From 8,000 (often more like 5,000) watching USL in a minor league baseball stadium to a near-sellout of a stadium intended for the most popular sport in the country. Heck, from a small handful watching NPSL or PDL on-campus at Vanderbilt – sneaking to the parking lot for beers at halftime – to Nissan flippin’ Stadium in barely over half a decade.
Yeah, I’m a rocket ship on my way to Mars
There’s a weird link between Queen – which happens to be one of my favorite bands – and Nashville SC supporters, largely because people decided they wanted to sing Bohemian Rhapsody during the 2019 USL season. There was a rain delay, the fans were restless, and they wanted to sing. They sang.
They liked the song, they sang the song. It became something of a tradition. Not the most ingrained one, perhaps, but certainly an organic one. Is it the best Queen song? No. Would it be much better without having been ruined by Wayne’s World? Yes.
But did it become “our Queen song?” Yes.
Ooh ooh ooh, I like it
There are other concerns when it relates to a soccer team. They are for other days. Today is a celebration. It’s a celebration of soccer, it’s a celebration of Tennessee, it’s a celebration of Nashville, it’s even a celebration of Atlanta. It’s a celebration of diversity, it’s a celebration of inclusivity, it’s a celebration of staving of a NIMBY battle that is not-so-subtly based upon standing up against those two principles.
It’s a celebration of scoring goals (hopefully!), it’s a celebration of preventing them for the opposition. It’s a celebration of the crunching tackle, the aerial duel, the perfectly-threaded throughball.
Whatever aspect speaks to you – sings to you – the most, you know exactly what to do: celebrate, and don’t stop.
Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time
Just give me a call
Don’t stop me now
Don’t stop me now
I don’t want to stop at all