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Our City: Celebrating a Season That Went Horribly Wrong

As the 2018 Orlando City MLS campaign finalizes the failures of this season, I’m finding it hard to let go.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well friends, here we are. This 2018 Orlando City season that began with such promise and ended in the most disappointing of fashions is drawing down the curtain this afternoon. Or zipping up the body bag, if you prefer that metaphor. This season has challenged our patience, our loyalty, and our sanity. With all of that in mind, damn I’m going to miss it.

That’s right, I know that must sound a bit masochistic, but honestly I am. I’m going to miss the game day rituals, the buildup during the week, and the misplaced hope that this would be the week Jason Kreis James O’Connor and the boys turned things around. I’ll miss the conversations and debates, and the dialogue with friends who support other MLS clubs. The truth is, my life is about to get a bit more boring over the next few months and preseason can’t get here soon enough.

You’ll say, what about European soccer, college football, or the NBA? I’ll watch some EPL with feigned interest, hope UCF football goes undefeated, and that the Magic can have a better season. None of it, not a bit of it, matters to me as much as Orlando City does.

Certainly the club, the team, the games, the sport all matter to me, but it’s something more.

During the MLS season I know I’ll see my brother, my best friend, and my buddy TheBeardedGuy at least a few times a month. We can turn our backs on responsibility for 90 minutes and enjoy some time together. During the MLS season my wife knows to check the Orlando City schedule before we make weekend plans. No other sport or team gets the same respect, because none of them have walls with posters and scarves in our home. During the MLS season I know most weekends I won’t have to worry about grading exams or preparing lectures for at least one part of the weekend. For everything this season wasn’t, it was still everything to me.

I’ll also miss this season in a dozen years’ time, when I think back fondly at the good times I had at the stadium, let’s remember those early season games were exciting. I’ll laugh with friends remembering this season as the worst. We will be able to laugh all of those years later just as one might laugh about an injury or embarrassment once the sting of the moment has long passed. We will tell new fans how we were the ones who sat through and suffered the 2018 campaign.

So friends, as our Lions take the field this afternoon let’s think of it less as a funeral and more as one might see a New Year’s Eve from a really awful year. We still raise our glasses of champagne, happy to see the old season in the rear-view mirror and eager to see what the next season can produce. Before you ruin my champagne toast with the realities of salary caps and promised contracts, of concerns with the front office or the coaching staff, I’ll remind you that is the sort of discussion we save for a business day. Today, this end of season game is our holiday. Consider the promise of the future. Consider today as the season winds down that everything is possible for us next season as those cards still haven’t been dealt.

Lift a glass to ending this horrible season and the promise of the next. Actually, maybe you should lift another two or three. We’ve had a rough one, friends.