Commentary

Stop overthinking and grab a beer

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Like a lot of us over the last few months, I’ve been feeling overworked.

Not only are there the everyday stresses of school and work to deal with, but 2020 has proven to be a never-ending rollercoaster of nasty things. It seems like every week, there’s a new major news story that brings us collectively to the brink of the apocalypse.

At this rate, even if the Union win tonight, I have absolutely no confidence that the next round will take place. For all we know the way this year is going, come Wednesday, a giant tsunami could roll in from the shores of the Delaware River, completely submerging and destroying PPL Park Subaru Park as we know it.

But I’m getting away from the point here; we’re all exhausted. Work, school, being stuck at home, it’s a lot to deal with mentally.

And then there’s the Union.

For the first time in their brief history, the Union are good. More than good, they’re amazing. They’ve been an absolute treat to watch at all turns, and even the potential setbacks like Blakes Injury have come and gone with little repercussion. Yet, despite the Union’s lack of typical Philadelphianess, they’ve done little to take away from the stress of 2020.

There’s something inherently stressful about having your favorite sports team play well. Not only are you waiting for the other shoe to drop (see: 2017 Eagles Season, Week 14), but there’s more coverage around your team than ever before. Keeping up with everything surrounding your team starts to feel like a full-time job. God knows it has begun to feel that way with the Union.

Gone are the days when you could show up, drink a beer, boo the ref and go home as a Union fan. These days the games feel like just the beginning of a week filled with in-depth looks at formations, player analytics, and takes from “Joe Bendik will lose us the Shield” to “we’ll never lose again”. If the talking points aren’t the game at hand, then they’re transfer rumors, conversations about how Paxton will fit into the side next year, or discussions on what this convoluted season even means. It’s a lot, and with the Union being so good this season, they feel like they almost required reading. 

I remember calling my dad (an invested but less informed Union fan) after a match mid-season and having him tell me, “Jeez, I really need to start keeping up with everything”. There’s a feeling of responsibility to keep up with a favorite team when they’re playing well, and as much as it’s done from a place of love, it can become exhausting. It’s hard to keep up with everything going on around the Union most years, let alone when they’re the starlet of the league during a compressed season. So as we enter tonight, with the Union kicking off the playoffs against the New England Revolution, I offer this advice.

Take a break.

As I’ve said in the past, sports are not your distraction. But they sure as hell can be a release. As a collective group of individuals, we’ve been through hell and back this year, and we deserve a break. So just for tonight, allow yourself to have that release as a sports fan. Sure reading up on the youth academy is incredibly exciting, and it’s great to know what Matt Turner’s save percentage is, but all of that will be there after the game. 

Step away from the next-gen stats, lineup predictions, and opinion pieces and lose yourself in what it means to be a fan. For 90 minutes tonight, allow yourself to be swept up in the irrationality that is sports fandom. Yell at the ref, boo New England, cry if we get knocked out, and lose your damn mind if we score. Be irrational, it’s the best part of being a fan. 

11 Comments

  1. Zakary Petroski says:

    LET’S GO PHILADELPHIA UNION !!!!

  2. Zakary Petroski says:

    LET’S GO PHILADELPHIA UNION !!!! What T.V. station is the Union game on ?

  3. If all the indications turn out to be correct and fulfilled, for only the second time this season the Union will start a healthy, match fit lineup that was intended when they drew up the plans this time late last fall..
    .
    They did it once before this season, against Toronto at Subaru Park.

    • Is that a real stat? The Union only played 1 regular season game with a fully-fit first choice lineup?
      .
      That makes this years accomplishment even better, in my eyes.

  4. Come on the U!!

  5. Steven Whisler says:

    Great piece, Thomas. Can’t wait.

  6. I grabbed a beer. Then I threw it at my TV tonight. Way to crap it up, Union

  7. el Pachyderm says:

    Hmm. Not quite….it turns out.

  8. At least the beer was good…

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