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What Happens Now?

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We’re outside the realm of what is supposed to happen and it’s up to us to figure things out together.

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Tell me, with all your conviction
What happens now?
What happens now? — “What Happens Now?” by Porcupine Tree

Today Orlando City was supposed to host the Chicago Fire at Exploria Stadium in the club’s second home game of the 2020 MLS season. There was supposed to be a slate of games from Major League Soccer as well as top flights across Europe. There was supposed to be a game between the Orlando SeaWolves and the Kansas City Comets tonight in Kissimmee.

There were supposed to be college basketball conference tournaments and a selection show this weekend to inform us who would play in the NCAA tournament. We were supposed to argue about who got in and who was left out. We were supposed to fill out our brackets next week.

We were supposed to make arrangements for our children’s regular spring breaks instead of these new, extended ones. We were supposed to be able to take our families to the theme parks any day we wanted, as we have done in the past. We were supposed to go to the concerts for which we bought tickets months ago.

I was supposed to go to New York City to see my daughter — and a Jerry Seinfeld show. Both the show and the trip were canceled.

This week has stood on its ear the concept of what is “supposed to” happen and has presented us with a new reality. Until it is deemed safe for us to congregate again without the risk of further spreading COVID-19, many of the things we love to do are off limits. For now, our kids’ schools are off limits and some people aren’t even welcome in their place of employment if they can telecommute. No one knows how long this new reality will last. Nobody can say for certain if or when current seasons will conclude.

So...what happens now?

Here at The Mane Land, we’re as much in the dark as all of you. Is this new reality going to resolve in a month or extend through the calendar year (or beyond)? It’s probably somewhere in between but we certainly don’t have that answer now. Here’s what we do know: we’re here at The Mane Land because we like to write and we like to discuss soccer — specifically Orlando City and Orlando Pride soccer. That’s something no virus can change. You guys like reading about soccer — specifically Orlando City and Orlando Pride soccer.

We’re going to have to be a bit more creative for the time being on how we can all do that. We’ve been discussing this internally as a staff and brainstorming ways we can keep the discussion of our favorite teams going. We have some ideas. For one thing, the current situation is not too much different than the off-season, with the exception that we have two games worth of data to draw upon. So we can treat it a bit like that. However, there are other things we can do. One of our ideas is to simulate the season as if the schedule were taking place as normal and discuss these simulations.

Another thing we can draw upon is the past. We can spotlight important events from the club’s previous years as Ben Miller did on Friday. This club has been around in one form or another since 2011 and there have been a lot of memorable moments since then for us to discuss.

And the club has reached out to the media to say that it will do whatever it can to make players/staff available via Skype or phone to do interviews. Perhaps there will be Q&A opportunities we can leverage where you ask the questions, or maybe we can provide the players’ perspective of this interruption in their normalcy.

But one important question I have for our readers is this: What do you want to talk about here? What discussion points are important to you during this time? Maybe it’s as simple as us creating a daily open thread for readers to express their thoughts during this odd time in our history. One thing we won’t be doing is providing a home for divisiveness or politics. Whether you think these precautions are justified or an overreaction doesn’t much matter at this point. It’s here. It’s happening. So, let’s live in the here and now and discuss it together.

Tell us what’s on your mind. Tell us what you’d like to see us discussing here on a daily basis while we all take this strange journey together. We may talk a lot here, but we also want to listen to you. We’re listening now. What is it you want to say?

What happens now?