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View from the End Line: A Simple Birthday Request

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I don’t think it is asking for much.

Giant Panda Yuan Zhou Celebrates Eighth Birthday In Shenzhen Photo by VCG

Dec. 20 has come and gone, and I am no longer the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Today is the 23rd of December, and I will be helping my daughter celebrate 11 successful revolutions around the great ball of fusion that we call the sun, while hurtling through the vacuum of space on the this big ball of dirt and water we call Earth. Did I mention she is turning 11? (Meaning that she has a firm belief that she is currently the answer to life, the universe, and everything since I vacated my throne on Wednesday.)

I did not have a long wish list this year for my birthday, unlike said daughter. I can say with certainty though, that I did have a secret list, a true wish list — one that I had not planned to discuss — but now might be a good time to do it.

I know that some of my other contributors have put some thoughts down in regards to a Christmas list, but I think my requests might surprise you. The year is winding down, and before I put words to computer (instead of pen to paper because who even does that anymore?) and attempt to summarize my 2018, here are my (late) birthday wishes.

New Friends

I moved seats for next season, and made a pretty dramatic move at that. Do not worry, friends. I will still be reporting from the End Line, just from a much lower vantage point. I have to say, not only have I enjoyed sitting with my friends, but I have made a number of new ones this past season. Our core group shrunk, and an opportunity arose to move down a section to seats that we had hoped to be in when the stadium opened but could not make work until now. I just hope that the new seat mates we are about to have are as amazing as the ones that we have called friends for the past seasons. Watching Orlando City play is one thing. Watching City play with friends is a whole new level.

New Adventures

I was lucky enough to be able to catch a few away matches this past season, and I am hoping for my birthday that my job will allow a bit more of this next season. This year saw numerous trips to Glasgow, Scotland, helping me to find a club across the pond I could truly follow in Kilmarnock FC, but next year I am hoping to get to a few more Orlando City away matches throughout the year. Based on my current work outlook, there is a good chance of catching a match in Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington D.C., New York (even though work is more New Jersey than NYC), and possibly even Atlanta. Work always comes first, but if timing lines up (and here is where the focus comes in while blowing out the candles), there is always a good chance of helping to cheer on the boys on the road.

New Opportunities

2018 brought some amazing times for me thanks to this club we call our own. If you are reading this, then I am about 100% certain that whether we have met in person or not, you have seen my ugly mug. I was honored to have been chosen to be a part of the 2018 #FaceofCity campaign. As part of that campaign, my image was used in numerous marketing efforts throughout the year. The harassment from friends and family was relentless, commonly referring to me as “kind of a big deal” while pointing to pictures of me and smirking or winking. As 2019 looms, I can only imagine the opportunities that are on the horizon. I can assure you, it certainly includes much more charity and possibly a little less shenanigans. The opportunities this club has afforded a simple fan like me has already been amazing, and before I blow the last candles out, I can only hope that some glimmer of the last candle light helps to light the way for even more opportunity. I am not talking about more of me being out there, but more opportunity to help spread the love for this club.

My birthday and Christmas lists are typically full of comedy and frivolity, asking for things like 1/100th scale models of Jupiter, a 1964 Cadillac Coupe DeVille that is metal flake green with a white interior, or a fainting goat (because seriously, have you seen fainting goats?). This year though, I couldn’t help but but let my mind drift towards using my yearly wish towards the above. There will be plenty of time to reminisce about 2018, but I wanted to share my sincere birthday wishes with you.

Of course, before the very last candle became a small, smoking ember on the tip of the wick, I certainly snuck in making the playoffs. Well, maybe used a few more of the 43 candles for that one.