This might be the shortest article I write for The Mane Land. Coming up with words to express opinion and thoughts surrounding match day, or rumors from camp, or ideas generated from reading too much into a player’s social media are easy. Dealing with another loss to the Orlando City family is one of those times when words fail, and it is OK.
Late last year, the City family lost Purple Deadpool, Joseph Campo Jr., in a tragic traffic accident. You may not have known him, but I am sure almost everyone would recognize him. If by chance you don’t, you did bear witness to his passion and drive as he helped lead the cacophony of support from The Wall from the capo stand.
On March 26, the City family was once again informed of a tragic loss — Miguel Vasquez, another original supporter, capo, and leader. Again, you may not realize it, but you certainly know Miguel’s work, as he was involved in the tifo creations we all wait to bear witness to on match day. Whether you know it or not, these individuals are an integral part of the atmosphere that makes OCSC what it is today, they are part of the family that has been built, living in the same house we all live in every single match day.
I spent many years of my Orlando City life, and I am referring to the USL days, hanging with a group that lovingly became known as The Olde South End. One member in particular, Daniel Britt, filled me in on everything I needed to know about the club when I started attending matches. We tailgated together, we chatted late at night about roster moves and strategy, and he would always “save me a seat” at whatever venue we played in.
My friend, who never got to witness an Orlando City MLS match, passed in February of 2015. He was the foundation of so much that I knew about this club. He was one of the bastions of sanity after a tough loss. He was one of the crew that would watch my daughter while I went to the facilities. He was something I would have trouble explaining to someone not from our group. Why am I telling you all of this?
Every single one of us has that friend that means the world to us when it comes to OCSC. It is one of those common denominators that binds us all indirectly. It is almost like a game of “Six Degrees of Separation.” Every single one of us, the fans that sit in the stadium every single home match, is bound by a few common people, whether we know it or not.
The Orlando City family has lost members lately, and it hurts. Whether you knew them personally, in passing, or not at all, it still hurts, because the passion you share is a binding force that drives a stake through you when a piece of that passion is missing. There is a collective here, an organic alignment of philosophical beliefs that drives us all towards a nihilist view of the world — that nothing matters except what we make of it. And what we make of it is the now, and the now is the fact that we are all one, a family, with a common goal for a mere 90 minutes.
Regardless of everything, at a certain point, we all wear purple, and we all are where we are for the common good of support. Tragedy is an unfortunate aspect of life, and it affects us all differently. I could easily write thousands of words to expound upon that statement, but I honestly think that would belittle everything I am trying to convey.
My sincerest condolences go out to all who knew, all who learned about, and all those who have no idea what I am talking about, but will. Any time tragedy hits this family, it ripples. Take some advice from an old guy who is graying too fast: Hug everyone around you as often as you can, remember we are all one family, and celebrate everything, even death, because although family may be gone physically, the impact they had on all of us, whether we realize it or not, is permanent and never forgotten. I will always “save a seat” for you.
The rest of this is a literary moment of silence for the family lost...