Friday, March 21, 2008

Nashville, Day Two - When Music City Became Soccer City


Any sceptics who think that soccer will never catch on in the United States should have been at LP Field here last night, when 69,000 flag-wavin’, gun-totin’, neck-wobblin’ home fans shunned college basketball and cruising around town in a pickup truck to pack the stadium and fanatically cheer on the US Under-23 team. Traffic was blocked in the downtown district for hours as the patriotic homeboys celebrated sending Uncle Sam’s fledgling kickers off to Beijing in August to take on the might of the totalitarian Communist state in the 16-team Olympic tournament. If there’s one place where Tibetan independence will be achieved, it’s on the soccer field. Woeful Canada, destroyed by three goals to nil, could only complain that they hadn’t been allowed to play on their favoured surface of snow.

If you don’t believe the effect that soccer fever has had on Nashville these past two days, then here are just a handful of the song titles I’ve picked up while walking down the street and hanging around the bars:

I Saw You Cheatin’ On Me At The Guatemala-Honduras Game
God Is My Referee (And Jesus Is My Coach)
Daddy Couldn’t Buy Me A Ticket To The CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament
That 4-5-1 Formation Left Me Lonely On The Bench Again
Hard Player, Soft Heart
Where Were You When My 10-Dollar Cleats Split At The Seam?
While I Was Playing Soccer, You Were Scoring Goals With Another Cowboy
Jesus Stopped Me Simulating
Honky-Tonk Full Back
It Ain’t Right Watching Chris Albright Without You At My Side
The Things We Used To Do Before You Met Freddy Adu

Speaking of Freddy Adu, I spotted the young US midfielder together with striker Jozy Altidore checking out the footwear in Boot Country on Broadway yesterday lunchtime, taking advantage of the shop’s offer of buy one pair of cowboy boots, get two free.

“Jozy and I have always had a bit of a country thing going in the locker room,” Adu said as he tried on a pair of tan Nocona Kangaroos with a medium round toe. “I’m more into the raw early mountain stuff and the post-war honky-tonk deal. Little Jimmy Dickens’ Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait) always reminds me of sitting on the bench at DC United hoping for playing time. And it’s a big comfort for me again at Benfica now.

“As for Jozy,” Adu confided as his team-mate went to the back of the store to try on a Montana Silversmith belt buckle, “he’s really into The Judds and Tammy Wynette. You know, that soapy commercial stuff from the 70s that sent Nashville’s reputation down the pan? He says Stand By Your Man is inspirational in helping him pick up his mark when he comes back to defend on corner kicks…”

Altidore returned at this point and there was an awkward silence, and the pair was last seen heading to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop where Adu planned to pick up a Merle Haggard boxed set. No one can deny that placing the Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament here has been a huge success on every conceivable level. Soccer City Nashville will never be the same again.

3 comments:

EdTheRed said...

Yee haw! And to think, you could have wasted that travel money on something stupid, like a trip to SXSW...

No Good Boyo said...

This is heartwarming stuff, Stay-At-Home. If you still lived in Britain you'd have got a BBC documentary out of it, like that Elvis Costello.

Mrs Pop must be delighted. You not only give up the day job but then head off Down South to join the crossroads-cursed ranks of blues singers.

Come up with a country & western song yet? You could wow them with the old Mark Harding number "We Was So Poor That Our Dog Had No Legs" .

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

Boyo, I thought of you when I found a seven inch single in Lawrence Records by Ed Munter called You Make My Sun Come Up. He has to be a Welsh, doesn't he? I was too cheap to buy it for you, but it was released in 1975 on Twentieth Century Records in case you're interested in following up.

Today's C&W song has the working title, "I Quit My Job But I Can't Quit Drinking." I've assured Mrs Pop that it will eventually make up for all lost revenues.