Perfection is the enemy of good. Passing up a good shooting opportunity to try to thread the perfect pass for a tap-in has meant the difference between a win and a draw (or a draw and a loss) for countless soccer teams since the sport was invented. It is with this in mind that I abandoned the brainstorming I’d been doing for the perfect name to hang on Orlando City’s series against Major League Soccer’s Florida newbies, Inter Miami CF. Long story short: I’m calling it Tropic Thunder.
Most of the names floated out there have been…well, OK at best and downright stupid at worst. One that I particularly liked was El SunPassico, but I’m so tired of the recycling of names and concepts that takes place in MLS that I have to respectfully decline. El Traffico is inspired, funny, and (sadly) true. El SunPassico is interesting in its own right, but it’s also pretty much stolen. A lot of people seem particularly inclined to stick “El” in front of any kind rivalry game name (and please note that I called this a series in the opening paragraph and not the “R” word). I’m not. Not everything has to borrow from Real Madrid vs. Barcelona. The word derby is overused too.
I thought long and hard about what ties Orlando to Miami. Obviously, it’s the state of Florida, which is incredibly vast. Just drive from Pensacola to Miami some time. What I kept coming back to is that it’s insanely hot here and ungodly humid. The other day I was thinking about what this series could be called when a thunderstorm rolled in. I have lived in five different states and in a variety of climates. I have never heard thunder or seen lightning the likes of which Florida sees routinely. I thought about hurricanes and tropical storms. And then the words ‘Tropic Thunder’ popped into my brain.
I wasn’t even thinking about the definitely not safe for work Ben Stiller movie at the time. I remember having mixed feelings about that satirical flick and for me it’s probably slightly below the Rotten Tomatoes marks it has gotten. But our David Rohe likes the name precisely because it gives him a reason to use quotes and memes from the film.
Rather, I was thinking of the actual thunder that shakes my house, of the torrential downpours that prevent me from even running full sprint from my front door to my car, because if I did, I wouldn’t have a few rain spots on my shirt. I’d look like I just jumped in a pool fully clothed.
It’s the Florida weather that continuously wrecks our team’s start times in the summer months. It halts games just when teams are settling in. It threatens to cancel matches, and sometimes does postpone them. It interrupts the frenzied noise of the Exploria Stadium — a different kind of thunder, that shakes The Wall rather than my house — when the referee signals the teams to take shelter in the dressing rooms.
When I floated the name in our TML Slack channel it was met with favorable comments. Literally no one on staff is afraid to tell me if something is bad, so I took this as a good sign. I posted the name in the SBN Soccer MLS channel and it was also well received. Again, people there are not afraid to say when they hate something. Maybe some were being nice in their silence, but that only encourages me.
So, I looked for reasons to shoot down this Tropic Thunder idea. And then I thought…why should I do that? At some point we have to call this game something and we’re going to get stuck with something bland and cookie cutter, like Florida Derby, or Sunshine State [Something]. I thought, “fuck it.” I’m calling it Tropic Thunder. I reasoned that if a lot of people don’t like it, I’m on to something good. After all, when lots of people get together to decide things, we end up making Cardi B, “Real Housewives” shows, or flat-brimmed caps popular. We elect people like…well, let’s not go there.
So, I decided to shoot out a poll on Twitter. If people roundly hated the idea of Tropic Thunder on the bird platform, then that only proves the point that I should use it. They did. So, I will. I’m not asking anyone here at The Mane Land to use it, but they are certainly welcome to it. I’m not asking other people to adopt it. But I’m using it and I reserve the right to stop doing that if and when a name I like better finally surfaces.
So, here’s what happened in the poll. I probably shouldn’t have added the whimsical third choice, but it’s the kind of choice I would have voted for, so I took that as a sign that most of those people probably secretly liked Tropic Thunder. Prove me wrong. (You can’t.)
So, we still don't have a good name for the Orlando City-Inter Miami series. We're kind of thinking...Tropic Thunder. What do you think?— The Mane Land (@TheManeLand) August 19, 2020
As you can see, almost 60% of the 435 voters didn’t want to admit that Tropic Thunder is obviously a good (again, not perfect, but good) name. About 21% of the voters went with the “I just like to vote” option, which is just a secret ‘Yeah!’ vote. And just shy of 20% went ahead and admitted that they like Tropic Thunder as a name for the series. This told me that it was the right choice. It’s like when you find out someone you know is a big fan of your favorite band, but they like the overplayed pop hit rather than the much more intelligently written deep cut. Hey, “Invisible Touch” is an OK Genesis song, but it can’t hold a candle to “Domino.”
Let’s take a look at some of the responses the poll got. More than one person suggested Florida Derby, and those people likely celebrated recent MLS teams with such inventive names as Charlotte FC and St. Louis City SC. Let’s just say no to that and move on, because MLS will probably pounce on that one.
No because Orlando isn’t in the tropical zone. We’re subtropical.— Quentin Quarantino (@32801Nole) August 19, 2020
Look, I’m not letting science technicalities get in the way here. I grew up in Ohio. Any place with a palm tree is tropical AF to me.
The sunshine state series, idk. Anything but tropic thunder.— Michael Koziel (@Koz125) August 19, 2020
[Insert gif of Homer Simpson saying “booooring!”]
If the train service ever gets off the ground and connects between the two locations, you can call it the BrightLine Brouhaha— Matt Brodsky (@MattSBrodsky) August 19, 2020
You’re yawning after that first one, right? You can admit it. It’s OK. This is a safe space.
The second idea is interesting, but who has that kind of time to wait?
Yeehaw Junction Function— Sebastian Arbelaez (@SebArbelaez) August 19, 2020
My God, that’s a lot of syllables! Even an abbreviated ‘YJF’ doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Fort Lando Derby— Ze great Leslie (@ShirleyURNotSrs) August 19, 2020
I mean, it takes a dig at Inter Miami, which I’m in favor of, but…eh.
El Trópico— Freddy B. Alarcon (@freddy_a89) August 20, 2020
Again with the ‘El’ name? And you threw in an accent over the O to boot. I already said I liked El Traffico, but let’s not force a Spanish-sounding name. Hey, there are a lot of Creoles in Florida. Why not a Creole name?
El Sol Bowl.— Evan Martinez (@theevanmartinez) August 20, 2020
Sounds like a December college football game between some random six-win team from the Sun Belt Conference and the fourth-place team from the MAC.
The Mane Event— Michael Long (@gnoleahcim) August 20, 2020
[/thinkyface emoji] Hmmmm…that does have a nice ring to it.
Throwing a couple out here.— Brian Strenth (@OL_BS1) August 19, 2020
El Sol Clasico
The Fight on the Turnpike
The Florida Man Jam
Points for volume, I guess.
I think it’s great!— Bill Kyte (@BK917) August 20, 2020
Ah, a man of discerning taste. A dwindling rarity on Twitter.
Southern Classic?— Erick (@erod3141) August 19, 2020
Another college football game.
Turnpike thunderdome— Digby Smith (@DigbyBatman) August 19, 2020
I tried for a long time to tie in the Turnpike before giving up on that. I just didn’t like anything I have heard or came up with. Maybe I’ll come back to it someday but this isn’t quite it.
So, for me, this series is now Tropic Thunder. I reserve the right to change my mind later. I reserve the right to ignore all haters or — even better — to feed off of them. If you love it or hate it, you’re putting too much into it. It’s not there to be loved or hated. It’s there to be good, not perfect. Because perfect is the enemy of good.